HLS Professor Chairing Email Privacy Policy Task Force Nominated to U.S. Appeals Court

Harvard Law School professor David J. Barron ’89 was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Barron, a former Crimson president who went on to graduate from the Law School two years before Obama, must have his confirmation approved by the Senate before he can take a seat on the First Circuit bench.

“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 White House press release. “He will be a diligent, judicious, and esteemed addition to the First Circuit bench.”

When asked for comment Tuesday evening, Barron’s colleagues at the Law School said that the public law professor was an apt choice for the appeals court nomination.

“David Barron is a superb lawyer with deep experiences in federal, state, and local government,” said Dean of the Law School Martha L. Minow. “He will be an outstanding judge as he has great judgment as well as wide expertise. He is such a valued member of our community, but for the greater good, I hope the Senate promptly confirms his nomination.”


Law School professor Laurence H. Tribe ’62, who taught Barron when he was a student at the Law School, said Obama’s nominee would make a “superb circuit court judge.”

“He is a brilliant and unusually imaginative legal analyst and a distinguished, universally admired scholar,” Tribe said. “He thinks deeply and writes both elegantly and with great care, going out of his way to formulate as strongly as possible the best available arguments against whatever position he ends up defending and to examine broadly the human and institutional consequences of each option under consideration.”

Tribe also said Barron was one of Obama’s best choices for a judicial appointment of his entire presidency.

“He should be confirmed with ease and is destined to be a truly great appellate judge,” Tribe said. “Professor Barron has everything it takes to be among the greatest jurists of our time.”

While Barron was at the the Law School, he served on the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he clerked for Stephen R. Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and later for U.S. Supreme Court judge John P. Stevens, who was succeeded by former Law School Dean Elena Kagan in 2010.

After joining the Law School faculty in 2004, Barron took a leave from his position in 2009 to serve as acting assistant attorney general under Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Barron’s nomination comes after he was selected by President Drew G. Faust last spring to head a task force reviewing the University’s email privacy policies. Email privacy rose to the forefront of University scrutiny in March when a secret search by Harvard administrators into resident deans’ accounts in connection with the Government 1310 cheating scandal became public.

Barron’s group is charged with determining whether a University-wide email policy is necessary to address potential policy discrepancies across schools. The group is scheduled to complete its review this fall and issue an official recommendation to Faust by January.

—Staff writer Dev A. Patel can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @dev_a_patel.


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