Senate Dems vote to advance nomination of drone memo author
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The Senate voted 52-43 Wednesday to end debate and advance the controversial nomination of David Barron, who authored memos justifying drone strikes on U.S. citizens, to serve on the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Barron's legal memos for the White House had sparked concerns from Democrats opposed to President Obama's drone policies. Last week, the administration held a meeting with Senate Democrats to reassure them and shore-up support.

Two Democrats, Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Overnight Finance: House passes sweeping tax bill in huge victory for GOP | Senate confirms banking regulator | Mulvaney eyed for interim head of consumer agency Overnight Regulation: Senators unveil bipartisan gun background check bill | FCC rolls back media regs | Family leave credit added to tax bill | Senate confirms banking watchdog MORE (D-W.Va.) and Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuYou want to recall John McCain? Good luck, it will be impossible CNN producer on new O'Keefe video: Voters are 'stupid,' Trump is 'crazy' CNN's Van Jones: O'Keefe Russia 'nothingburger' video 'a hoax' MORE (D-La.), voted with Republicans. Still only a simple majority was needed to advance the nominee. Landrieu faces a tough reelection race in November.

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On Tuesday, the administration announced that it would make the memos authored by Barron public, a move which convinced Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress faces growing health care crisis in Puerto Rico Photos of the Week: Nov. 13-17 Senate panel approves GOP tax plan MORE (D-Ore.) to support the nominee. Despite being a critic of the U.S. drone program, Wyden said the White House release of documents was a show of good faith.

But Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCongress must end American support for Saudi war in Yemen Black men get longer prison sentences than white men for same crimes: study Sarah Palin on sexual harassment: 'People know I'm probably packing' so they 'don't mess with me' MORE (R-Ky.) said that wasn’t good enough for him, saying he was disturbed by the content of the memos.

“I believe it’s about what the memos themselves say,” Paul said ahead of the vote. “I rise in opposition of the killing of American citizens without trial. Any nominee who rubber stamps and grants that power to the president is not worthy of being one step away from the Supreme Court.”

Paul has threatened to filibuster Barron’s nomination but Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidVirginia was a wave election, but without real change, the tide will turn again Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor MORE (D-Nev.) filed cloture on the nominee last week, meaning Paul can’t stop the vote since the Senate rule change which allows Democrats to end debate with a simple majority instead of 60 votes. 

“I’ve read David Barron’s memos concerning the legal justification for killing an American citizen overseas without a trial or legal representation, and I am not satisfied,” Paul said. “There is no valid legal precedent to justify the killing of an American citizen not engaged in combat.”

Ahead of the vote, Paul tried to get unanimous consent to delay Senate consideration of Barron’s nomination until the public had time to review the promised memos, but Sen. Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Democrats introduce bill to block Trump's refugee ban FCC votes to limit program funding internet access for low-income communities Two GOP senators oppose Trump’s EPA chemical safety nominee MORE (D-Mass.) objected.

The final confirmation vote is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Paul is considered a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Another possible candidate, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTexas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request Dem rep: Trump disaster aid request is 'how you let America down again' Moore endorsements disappear from campaign website MORE (R-Texas) also spoke out in opposition to Barron’s nomination, calling him an “unabashed judicial activist” who would politicize the courts.

The Senate also confirmed the following nominees by voice-vote:

- Elisebeth Collins Cook to be a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

- Deirdre Daly to be U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.

- James Frazer Green to be U.S. Attorney for the middle district of Louisiana.

- Damon Martinez to be U.S. Attorney for New Mexico.