Harvard Law School professor David Barron, who previously served in a top-level position in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, was nominated today to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Barron, formerly acting assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel under Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., returned to Harvard in 2010. Barron joined Harvard Law School in 1999 as an assistant professor. He became a professor in 2004. Earlier in his career, Barron served as an attorney-adviser in OLC, the division whose lawyers provide legal guidance to executive branch agencies. Virginia Seitz, a former Sidley Austin partner, is the assistant attorney general in charge of the office now.
Barron and former OLC colleague Marty Lederman, who has since returned to Georgetown University Law Center, principally drafted a secret legal memo assessing the authority to target and kill a U.S. citizen abroad, The New York Times reported in October 2011. The Times said the OLC memo, written around June 2010, “laid out the administration’s justification” for targeting Anwar al-Awlaki. (The Justice Department has not publicly released the memo.)
Barron would fill the lone vacancy on the First Circuit, which hears disputes arising in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico.
"David Jeremiah Barron has displayed exceptional dedication to the legal profession through his work, and I am honored to nominate him to serve the American people as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals," Obama said in a statement this afternoon. "He will be a diligent, judicious and esteemed addition to the First Circuit bench."