Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fourth Circuit Buzz

Well, there is still no nominee to take Chief Judge Wilkins' seat when he takes senior status in May. Word on the street is that the White House and Senator Graham are not in agreement on the nominee. Right now, here are the primary names I have heard:

1. District Judge Henry Floyd. Judge Floyd is Senator Graham's first choice. The problem is that Dubya views his legacy as the War on Terror, and in 2005 Judge Floyd ruled against the administration in the Padilla case. This rebuke to the Bush administration likely did not sit well with Dubya:

Certainly [the Bush administration] does not intend to argue here that, just because the President states that Padilla's detention is "consistent with the laws of the United States, including the Authorization for Use of Military Force" that makes it so. Not only is such a statement in direct contravention to the well settled separation of powers doctrine, it is simply not the law. Moreover, such a statement is deeply troubling. If such a position were ever adopted by the courts, it would totally eviscerate the limits placed on Presidential authority to protect the citizenry's individual liberties."

I still agree with Judge Floyd on this one, but my vote and input aren't worth much in battle for a Court of Appeals slot. Of course, the Administration also has concerns because Judge Floyd served in the state legislature as a Democrat. I have heard that Judge Floyd is out of contention, then back into contention. I certainly would not rule him out.

2. Reggie Lloyd. Lloyd is the US attorney for the district of South Carolina and former state court judge. He is also a friend of Senator Graham. Word on the street was that Graham's original plan was Floyd to the Fourth Circuit and then Lloyd to the District bench to replace Floyd. Because of issues with the Administration on Judge Floyd, Lloyd is a serious candidate. The problem is that although he is a fine gentleman, no one really knows much about his leanings left or right or his intellect. He is an unknown quantity--and the Bushes have not faired too well with unknowns as Justices or Judges. Dubya might not want to take this risk.

3. District Judge Terry Wooten. Judge Wooten is a name that has recently appeared on the radar screen. In the late 1980s, Judge Wooten served as minority chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee and had connections with Senator Strom Thurmond. I don't know much about him, but do know that he is in contention.

4. Of course, don't count out Greenville attorney Bill Coates or Charleston attorney Steve Matthews. Both would make fine judges and are known for their intelligence and legal reasoning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Steve Matthews is a Columbia attorney. One of the smartest people in the world.

Terry Wooten is a fine fellow, and would also serve with distinction.