Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy is praising the White House decision's to grant all senators access to a memo regarding the legal basis for drone strike killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.
"I applaud the administration for making available to all Senators the Justice Department memo regarding Anwar Al Awlaki. All members of the Judiciary Committee were previously able to review this memo, and I am glad all Senators will have the opportunity to do so now," the Vermont Democrat said in a statement.
The memo has become a key issue in preparing for the a vote on confirmation of Harvard Law professor David Barron to be a federal appeals court judge on the First Circuit.
The White House told CQ Roll Call earlier in the day that the memo in question would be available to all senators in a classified setting prior to a vote.
However, Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Judiciary panel, is questioning if there are other documents that should be made available.
"According to news reports, Mr. Barron authored at least one additional memo that the White House continues to withhold from senators expected to vote on his lifetime appointment to the federal courts. It's anybody’s guess what other relevant materials on the drone program written by, or related to, Mr. Barron haven’t been released," Grassley said in his own statement.
However, in the Senate environment that has existed since last November's use of the "nuclear" option to effectively change the rules with a simple majority vote, Democrats need only a simple majority to get Barron through to confirmation.
"David Barron is a brilliant lawyer who is committed to public service. Based on his entire career as a lawyer, I am confident he will be an excellent judge on the First Circuit," Leahy said. "I supported David Barron's nomination in the Judiciary Committee and I look forward to supporting his confirmation on the Senate floor."