With the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens, will the most pro-abortion president in American history fight for a like-minded Supreme Court nominee?
-- From "Abortion Could Dominate Debate Over Scholarly Judge" by Nathan Koppel, Wall Street Journal 4/9/10
Judge Diane Wood has an impeccable legal pedigree and is considered a leading scholar on the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the nation's most prominent appellate benches. But one issue would likely dominate any battle over her nomination: abortion.
The judge's best-known and most controversial ruling on the Seventh Circuit—where she was appointed in 1995 by President Bill Clinton—involved a lawsuit by the National Organization for Women.
The suit alleged that various antiabortion activists had engaged in extortion by using aggressive protest tactics, including lying in front of doorways at abortion clinics.
Judge Wood ruled in favor of NOW, but the decision was reversed by the Supreme Court. Her ruling focused primarily on interpreting the scope of federal racketeering law, not whether abortion protests generally are legal.
Judge Wood, 59 years old, is widely perceived by conservatives as falling on the wrong side of the abortion debate, according to M. Edward Whelan III, a judicial-confirmation specialist at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative Washington-based think tank.
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