Earlier today, I wrote of a moral test in the U.S. Senate. This afternoon, David Barron’s confirmation to a powerful judicial position was put to a vote in the U.S. Senate.
David Barron’s nomination wasn’t just any old ordinary judicial court appointment. Barron crafted the legal justification for executing American citizens using predator drone aircraft without even attempting to put those citizens on trial, on the mere assertion by the President that he thinks the citizens are guilty of crimes that deserve killing.
Under David Barron’s system, criminal suspects don’t get a grand jury review, they don’t get legal representation, they don’t get trials, they don’t get sentencing hearings, and they certainly don’t get appeals. They just get killed – on no other basis than that the President decides that they ought to be killed.
This legal structure is so fundamentally contrary to the American system of fair trials established by the Bill of Rights that no lawyer who supports the Barron extrajudicial execution standard can be considered reasonably qualified to be the judge of a small town court, much less a federal judge.
Senator Bernard Sanders is not ignorant of this problem. Earlier this month, Sanders wrote that President Obama “has drawn concern from senators who are disturbed by David Barron’s authorship of legal memos that justified the United States’ killing of an American citizen overseas with a drone.”
Yet, this afternoon, Senator Sanders voted in favor of giving Barron a high judicial position in the federal government. Sanders abandoned his scruples in order to do a favor for President Obama and his Democratic allies.
Supporters of Sanders may brush off this vote as just one bad vote in an otherwise excellent record. They’re missing the point, however, that this vote shows that what we expect of Bernie Sanders and what he actually does when political power is at stake are two different things.
In 2008, liberals excused Barack Obama’s support of offshore oil drilling, his abandonment of ethical campaign finance standards, his support of legislation to authorize massive electronic spying against Americans, and his insulting attitude toward atheists, saying that these were just a few bad votes in an otherwise excellent record. Besides, they said, didn’t we hear that speech Obama just gave?
Obama’s liberal supporters said that their candidate was just taking on right wing positions in order to get elected, and promised that, once Obama got into the White House, wonderful things would happen. Yet, once Obama was elected President, he acted just as he had done before. He didn’t abandon his earlier bad votes. He moved to solidify them with his new executive power.
We have no reason to think Bernard would be any different. His vote today supports such a fundamental violation of our civil liberties that it cannot be reasonably excused. Sanders helped put a man who has no respect for our constitutional rights into a high judicial position. If he did it today, he would do it as President.
Bernard Sanders for President has now joined the ranks of Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo and other crass Democrats who exploit liberal enthusiasm when they need it, but cannot be trusted to enact liberal policy.
Today, Sanders showed that his campaign just isn’t worth my time.