Henry Floyd Confirmed for Fourth Circuit in Rare Unanimous Vote

By Robyn Hagan Cain on October 06, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

U.S. District Judge Henry Floyd was confirmed to a seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals by a 96-0 vote on Tuesday.

Floyd is a rare judge who has served in all three branches of government. While in law school at the University of South Carolina, Floyd was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he served until 1978. From 1979 through 1991, Floyd was Commissioner on the South Carolina Forestry Commission. During that time, Floyd also had law practice and served as counsel for Pickens County.

Floyd began his tenure as a Circuit Court Judge for South Carolina's Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in 1992, where he remained until his appointment to the federal bench in 2003.

Judge Floyd gained national notoriety in 2005 when he ruled that enemy combatant José Padilla must be charged or released. Padilla was arrested in Chicago in 2002 on suspicion of plotting a dirty bomb attack. He was convicted with co-conspirators in 2007 of supporting terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda. In ruling on Padilla's federal habeas petition, Floyd noted that, under the Non-Detention Act, Padilla could only be imprisoned by the federal government pursuant to an act of Congress.

While judicial vacancies remain a problem within the appellate courts, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is almost at full capacity. The court now has 14 full-time judges, the most it's had since Congress expanded it to 15 seats in 1990, The State reports. Stephanie Thacker, the remaining Fourth Circuit nominee, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday in the first hearing of her confirmation process.

If confirmed, Thacker will fill the late Judge M. Blane Michael's seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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