Liberal Bent, 'Empathy' Mark Potential Justice
Diane Wood was Chicago law faculty colleague of Obama's
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted May 12, 2009 11:15 AM CDT
Judge Richard Posner, a fellow Univ. of Chicago professor and 7th Circuit judge, and a major conservative intellectual.   (
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – In choosing a new Supreme Court justice, President Obama says he wants not just a savvy legal brain, but also someone who can show “empathy.” Diane Wood, his former University of Chicago colleague and a judge on the Seventh Circuit, meets both criteria, the New York Times reports. She’s spent years going head-to-head with some of the nation’s most formidable conservative judges, often winning.

Wood led her court in overturning an order for a Ukrainian immigrant to be deported after she was unable to get a translator. She also ruled to allow Planned Parenthood to use anti-mob laws against demonstrators. Wood is a lifetime member of the legal elite, and even her children learned, on trips, to ask, “Which circuit are we in?” rather than “which state?”