A questionnaire filled out by Judge Henry Floyd, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, sheds a little light on how he became a rare cross-party choice for an appellate judgeship.
In describing his nomination process on the questionnaire, Floyd writes that he has had “at least three conversations” about the 4th Circuit nomination with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). A longtime friend of Floyd’s who recommended him for the circuit during the George W. Bush administration, Graham is his state’s senior senator and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He released a statement last month supporting Floyd.
Obama administration officials spoke with Floyd about a possible nomination for about nine months before announcing it, Floyd writes in his response to the questionnaire.
President Barack Obama’s nomination of Floyd is unusual because Floyd was appointed to U.S. District Court in South Carolina by a president, Bush, of the other party. Floyd was first in contact with screening officials at the Justice Department in April 2010, he writes, and he interviewed with DOJ staff and the White House Counsel’s Office in August.
Floyd’s 53-page response (PDF) to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questionnaire is a standard part of the confirmation process.
In response to another question, he cites the “most significant” case that he’s presided over as that of José Padilla. In 2005, Floyd drew nationwide attention when he ruled that the Bush administration exceeded its authority when it detained Padilla, a U.S. citizen, indefinitely and without charges.
Floyd lists eight 4th Circuit opinions that he’s already authored, sitting by designation on the Richmond, Va.-based court.
Updated at 4:41 p.m.