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Clay Land

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Clay Land
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #1
Station:   Columbus, GA
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   12/21/2001 - Present
Preceded by:   James Robert Elliott
Personal History
Born:   1960
Hometown:   Shreveport, LA
Undergraduate:   University of Georgia, B.A., 1982
Law School:   University of Georgia Law, J.D., 1985

Clay D. Land is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. He joined the court in 2001 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. Prior to joining the court, Land was a private practice attorney in Georgia.[1]

Early life and education

Land graduated from Georgia with a bachelor's of Business Administration in 1982 and later graduated from Georgia Law with his J.D. degree in 1985.[1]

Professional career

Judge Land was a private practice attorney licensed in the State of Georgia from 1985 to 2001.[1]

Judicial career

Middle District of Georgia

On the recommendation of Congressman Saxby Chambliss, Land was nominated to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia by President George W. Bush. He was nominated on September 21, 2001, to a seat vacated by Judge James Robert Elliott. Land was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 13, 2001, on a majority voice vote and received commission on December 21, 2001.[2]

Notable cases

Obama "birther" cases (2009)

     United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia (Cook v. Good et al, 4:2009cv00082)

On July 16, 2009, Judge Land dismissed the lawsuit of Major Stefan Cook. Major Cook filed a lawsuit to demand proof of President Barack Obama’s citizenship before accepting orders to be deployed to Afghanistan.[3] Judge Land sided with the Department of Defense in holding that Major Cook’s suit was “moot”[3] and therefore beyond the subject matter jurisdiction of the court, because his deployment orders were revoked and "the relief he is seeking has been granted."

On September 16, 2009, Judge Land dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by another reservist who had retained the same attorney as Major Cook. In Connie Rhodes, M.D. v. Col. Thomas MacDonald, et al., the plaintiff made essentially the same arguments Major Cook had. Judge Land denied a motion for a temporary restraining order sought by Rhodes and dismissed the case with a warning to her attorney that the filing of any "similarly frivolous" actions shall "subject counsel to sanctions" under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In a footnote to his opinion, the judge remarked (internal citations omitted):

  • The Court observes that the President defeated seven opponents in a grueling campaign for his party’s nomination that lasted more than eighteen months and cost those opponents well over $300 million. Then the President faced a formidable opponent in the general election who received $84 million to conduct his general election campaign against the President. It would appear that ample opportunity existed for discovery of evidence that would support any contention that the President was not eligible for the office he sought. Furthermore, Congress is apparently satisfied that the President is qualified to serve. Congress has not instituted impeachment proceedings, and in fact, the House of Representatives in a broad bipartisan manner has rejected the suggestion that the President is not eligible for office. See H.R. Res. 593, 111th Cong. (2009) (commemorating, by vote of 378-0, the 50th anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood and stating, “the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961”).[4]

Mark Shelnutt case (2009)

     United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia (United States of America v. Shelnutt, 4:09-cr-00014-CDL)

Judge Land presided in the case of Georgia attorney Mark Shelnutt. Shelnutt faced charges of aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, money laundering, witness tampering, and attempted bribery. The charges came from a complaint that alleged Shelnutt having a working relationship with convicted drug dealer and former client Torrance Hill.[5]

On July 14, 2009, Judge Land dismissed motions from the Shelnutt defense team to dismiss all but two charges against him.[5] Attorneys for Shelnutt requested the Judge to dismiss the charges based on a claim that a U.S. attorney and FBI agent misled Shelnutt during an interrogation.[5]

"The defendant's arguments relate to deficiency of evidence and that will be heard at trial," said Judge Land after denying the motion.[5]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
James Robert Elliott
Middle District of Georgia
Seat #1
Succeeded by: