After abolishing the filibuster for Senate confirmations, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid figured he would have smooth sailing for Obama's judges. Unfortunately for Harry, freeing Obama has put the Democratic Senators in a box:
Judicial Nominee’s Memos on Drones Stirring Bipartisan Concern in the Senate
By JEREMY W. PETERS MAY 5, 2014
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s choice for a powerful appeals court appointment is in peril from both the left and the right, highlighting how the fraught politics of an election year are threatening the president’s agenda even among his allies on Capitol Hill.
The nomination of David Barron, who was a Justice Department lawyer at the start of the administration and is now a Harvard Law School professor, is mired in a maw of contentious issues. Republicans object to what they say are his radically liberal views on the Constitution. Democrats in conservative-leaning states, especially those who are up for re-election, are wary that a vote for him might backfire with voters at home. And members of both parties say they are disturbed by Mr. Barron’s authorship of legal memos that justified the United States’ killing of an American citizen overseas with a drone.
The American Civil Liberties Union wrote to all 100 senators on Monday urging them to put off a vote on Mr. Barron’s confirmation until the White House allowed them to read all of his writings on the drone program.
Oh, dear. Can't blame this one on obstructionist, filibustering Republicans funded by the Koch brothers.
The wariness of Democrats, and the willingness of some to buck their president, began to surface publicly on Monday.
Two Democrats who are up for re-election in states where Republicans have a political edge — Mark Begich of Alaska and Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana — are said to be unsure if they will vote yes on Mr. Barron.
A court has ordered the administration to release some of Mr. Barron’s legal work as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. But White House lawyers have not done so while they weigh whether to appeal. Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat who is in a tight race, said Monday that he would vote no unless the White House released what the court ordered.
“Unless the White House complies, I cannot support David Barron’s nomination,” he said.
Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and one of the senators who have voiced deep concern over the secrecy of the administration’s drone policy, said Monday that he had agreed that the vote on Mr. Barron should not move forward until senators could see more of the secret legal opinions that the nominee produced at the Justice Department.
Mr. Wyden added that he was also not committed to voting yes.