- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he has the votes to confirm President Obama’s newest nominee to a federal appeals court, David Barron, who has faced intense scrutiny for authoring memos that justified drone strikes against American citizens.

Mr. Reid said many Democrats were satisfied with the defense of Mr. Barron provided by White House lawyers at a private briefing last week, The Hill reported. The Nevada Democrat only needs 51 votes to end the debate and move to a vote.

“We’ll vote on the Barron filibuster, stopping that tomorrow. I think we’ll be OK,” he said at a Tuesday press conference.

Republicans and some Democrats have demanded the Obama administration make public the memos Mr. Barron reportedly authored or signed that justified the lethal drone strike against Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen living in Yemen who was suspected of terrorist ties. The strike killed al-Awlaki along with Samir Khan, another American citizen, The Hill reported.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul accused Mr. Barron of providing the president “with a legal argument and justification to target an American citizen for execution without a trial by jury or due process.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has also come out against Mr. Barron’s nomination.

If five Democrat senators defect Wednesday, the filibuster will kill the nomination.

“Pressure is being put on red state Democrats, including Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who is up for re-election, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana,” writes Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips. “Conservative groups are also putting pressure on Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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