Senate confirms David Barron for U.S. Court of Appeals

Professor David Barron

Professor David J. Barron ’94

Harvard Law School Professor David J. Barron ’94, an expert in administrative law and the separation of powers, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

At HLS, Barron’s teaching and scholarship focused on war powers, presidential power, the separation of powers, administrative law, constitutional law, federalism, and local government law. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1999, was named a professor in 2004, and was appointed the Honorable S. William Green Professor of Public Law at Harvard Law School in 2011.

“David Barron’s work as a lawyer and as a scholar is absolutely top-notch and so is his ability to stand back from contentious subjects, consider the facts, and provide thorough, sage, and fair analysis,” said Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School.

During the confirmation process, Harvard Law School professors Laurence H. Tribe ’62 and Charles Fried co-wrote an op-ed in The Boston Globe calling for his confirmation. “No one can reasonably question Barron’s intelligence, the high quality of his scholarship, his judicial temperament, his deep respect for the rule of law, or his personal integrity and devotion to public service,” they wrote, calling Barron  Barron “a brilliant lawyer who will make an excellent judge.”

In 2009, Barron took a leave from his faculty position at HLS to join the Office of Legal Counsel, where he served for 18 months, providing advice on national security and domestic legal issues. For his service, he received the National Intelligence Exceptional Achievement Medal from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, he served as a member of the Justice Department agency review team for the Obama-Biden Transition. He also was an advisor on Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on war powers.

In 2012, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick `82 appointed Barron to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the Massachusetts State College Building Authority.

Barron received his B.A. from Harvard College in 1989 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1994.  A member of the Harvard Law Review, he clerked for Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Barron worked as an attorney-adviser in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel from 1996 to 1999.

He is the co-author of a casebook, “Local Government Law” (West Publishing, 5th ed. 2010) and “City Bound: How States Stifle Urban Innovation”(Cornell University Press, 2008), both with Professor Gerald Frug.