Short-listed possible Supreme Court nominee Diane Wood, who once taught
alongside Barack Obama at the University of Chicago Law School, has not
been formally nominated, yet her record on abortion is already under
heated debate. Here's what commentators are saying about Wood's abortion
stance, and what that fight says about the state of abortion politics
- The Big Controversial Case Via the Washington
Post's Rachel Weiner, SCOTUSblog's Kristina Moore reviewed
the case's meaning. "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
- 'Radical' Abortion Rulings The National
Review's Ed Whelan makes the case.
"No judge whom I’m aware of is more extreme than Wood on abortion. Her
defiance of the Supreme Court’s mandate in NOW v. Scheidler (and
her incurring successive 8-1 and 8-0 reversals by the Court) ought alone
to be disqualifying. In addition, Wood has (in dissent) voted to strike
down state laws banning partial-birth abortion and (again in dissent)
voted to strike down an Indiana informed-consent law that was in all
material respects identical to the law upheld by the Supreme Court in Planned
Parenthood v. Casey."
- You Call This Radical? Slate's
Emily Bazelon finds a pretty
conventional liberal record. "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."
- Actually, She's Kind of Libertarian
Time's Michael Scherer writes, "the conservative caricature of
Wood as a sort of judicial extremist blurs the reality. She has earned
praise from people across the ideological spectrum. In one recent case, Bloch
v. Frischholz, Wood had dissented, arguing that condo residents had
a federal claim of religious discrimination in response to a building
rule that prohibited the hanging of a mezuzah, a traditional Jewish
scroll, on a hallway doorframe. 'She has the ideal judicial
temperament,' libertarian scholar Richard Epstein told the New
Republic last year."
- Reveals Our Screwy Confirmation
System Liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias sighs
that Wood's "real crime" isn't her rulings, but that she had the
"misfortune" to hear a controversial case at all. "If Elena Kagan winds
up getting the nod in favor of Wood it will in part be another triumph
for the unfortunate trend toward 'never say anything about anything'
legal scholarship. ... The overall trend has been toward an unfortunate
situation in which the ideal nominee is someone with no record on
anything anyone is interested in."
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