Diane Wood, Supreme Court justice?
Diane Wood worked at the antitrust division of the Justice Department during the Clinton administration, and she was nominated to the President Clinton in 1995. She knows Obama from her days as a professor at the University of Chicago law school, where he also taught.
Wood "knows what it is like to duel two of the most formidable and prolific conservative jurists in the country," Peter Slevin wrote in 2009. Associates describe her as "smart, progressive, steadfast and collegial." Judge Richard Posner, an outspoken conservative, officiated her wedding in 2006.
Senate Democrats have expressed their desire for a nominee from outside the Ivy League; Wood went to the University of Texas.
Her most commonly discussed reversal is in Scheidler v. National Organization for Women (2003), in which an 8-1 Court (Stevens dissenting) rejected the Seventh Circuit's application of RICO laws in a suit against abortion protest groups. But Wood's opinion was a judgment primarily about injunctive relief and the breadth of the racketeering statute, not on the right to provide an abortion or to protest.
Conservatives say Obama won't pick Wood over abortion:
"That's her Achilles' heel," said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, which opposes Wood's rulings on abortion. "It tells you that she's probably not going to be selected, because Obama doesn't have the stomach for this to be about an abortion debate."
LifeNews.com called Wood "strongly pro-abortion" in 2009.
Slate's Emily Bazelon wrote April 13 that Wood wouldn't be so hard to defend.
In revisiting a decade-old Supreme Court ruling that made abortions harder to obtain, Wood clearly took a pro-choice stance. But is this ruling radical or outside the mainstream of constitutional thought? Only if the right has succeeded in stifling every last judicial impulse to ensure that women can have unburdened access to abortion.
On April 21, Obama said abortion would not be a "litmus test" for him.
Meanwhile, liberals are enthusiastic about Wood. "Not only does Wood have basically sound views, but she has a track record of using those views to actually make a difference," Kevin Drum wrote at Mother Jones. "She speaks her mind and doesn't back down from a fight, but she also knows how to win fights. That's something we need right now." Glenn Greenwald, who isn't a fan of potential nominee Elena Kagan, says Wood has a "long, clear, inspiring record." Fellow liberal blogger John Amato called it a "compelling case."
Wood was also put in the spotlight on a case involving a condo association that ordered a Jewish family not to put a mezuzahs on its door.
April 9, 2010; 3:59 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Supreme Court | Tags: diane wood
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