David Barron was narrowly confirmed as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed Barron by a vote on 53-45. Not a single Republican voted in favor of Barron, while some Democrats voted with Republicans opposing the nomination,.
Breitbart News has reported on the controversy over the Barron nomination. The bipartisan opposition came from a combination of Barron’s strong advocacy of judicial activism and his being the architect of the Obama administration’s legal rationale for giving the president authority to kill American citizens in foreign countries using drone strikes, without any judicial order or due process, even when those American citizens are not involved in any military hostilities against the United States.
Previously any Senate business could be subject to unending debate–a filibuster–unless at least 60 senators voted to invoke cloture to end debate and proceed to a final vote. At that point, it takes 51 votes to pass the 100-member Senate.
Last November, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used a procedural tactic to change the rules of the Senate, abolishing the filibuster for all presidential nominations except Supreme Court nominations. Republicans widely suspect that if President Obama were to have another Supreme Court vacancy to fill and that nomination received strong opposition that Reid would change the rules again to abolish the filibuster for High Court nominees as well.
The rules change has not proved the panacea that Obama and Reid thought it would, but today’s confirmation is the latest of several demonstrations that it has enabled Obama to move several nominations that would otherwise have failed.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal analyst for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.