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David Barron

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FILE - This May 20, 2013, file photo shows Harvard Law Professor David Barron during a forum at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. Bolstered by the promised public release of a secret legal memo, Senate Democrats are ready to approve a top federal judgeship for a former official who helped formulate the Obama administration’s justification for the drone killings of suspected American terrorists overseas. The Senate was expected to vote approval on Thursday for David Barron to join the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

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The nomination of Harvard law professor David Barron cleared a Semate procedural hurdle Wednesday in his bid to become a federal judge. (Associated Press)

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FILE - This May 20, 2013, file photo shows Harvard Law Professor David Barron during a forum at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is predicting approval of one of President Barack Obama’s most contentious picks for a federal judgeship. The Senate plans a crucial procedural vote May 21, 2014, on Barron, a Harvard Law School professor who as a top Justice Department official wrote legal memos justifying the use of drones to kill Americans overseas who are believed to be terrorists. Some Democrats have been resisting Barron’s nomination. They have wanted those legal documents to be released publicly beforehand. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)