Judge Who Decided Indefinite Detention Cases One of Seven New Judicial Nominees

January 28, 2011

President Barack Obama nominated seven people to seats on the federal courts yesterday, including U.S. District Judge Henry Floyd, who decided two important indefinite detention cases during the Bush administration.

Floyd, who was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, ruled in a 2005 decision that the Bush administration had improperly detained U.S. citizen José Padilla after his arrest at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 2002, and that President Bush did not have the power to hold Padilla without charges as an enemy combatant, The Blog of Legal Times reports.

"The decision was a rare judicial rebuke of executive authority in wartime," BLT explains.

In a second case in 2005 and 2006, Floyd held that the administration could detain Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a Qatari national who later pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court.

Floyd was nominated to his district court seat by President Bush in 2003, and was confirmed with widespread bipartisan support, according to BLT.

President Obama also nominated six people to the federal district courts, including Michael Green, District Attorney of Monroe County, for the Western District of New York; Northern Mariana Islands Superior Court Judge Ramona Villagomez Manglona, for the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands; Cablevision Senior Vice President and Association General Counsel J. Paul Oetken, for the Southern District of New York; state district court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, for the Southern District of Texas; Natasha Perdew Silas, a federal public defender in Atlanta, for the Northern District of Georgia; and U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker, for the Northern District of Georgia.

There are now 102 vacant seats subject to Senate confirmation on the federal courts, 49 of which are considered judicial emergencies. Visit JudicialNomations.org to learn more about the growing judicial nominations crisis and follow developments.