The judge who blocked the Obama administration’s moratorium on deep-water oil drilling has a reputation as a stern jurist, but until now he has sparked little controversy during his 27-year judicial career.

With a reversal record since 2000 that is the second-lowest among the judges of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Martin Feldman has navigated his position without much drama. Within the New Orleans legal community, the 1983 Reagan appointee has a reputation for demanding exactness and little tolerance for missteps from the attorneys who appear in his court.