WASHINGTON (CNN) – A federal appeals court judge from Chicago has met privately with the president to discuss the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy, a source close to the selection process tells CNN.
Diane Wood, who sits on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was in town Wednesday to attend an annual conference on judicial independence at Georgetown Law Center. When questioned by a reporter, she refused to discuss whether she was to sit down with the president.
"I'm not answering anything on that," she told CNN. The 58-year-old judge is not on the official program of speakers at the conference, sponsored by retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, but she was in the audience for a morning session.
Another leading candidate for the vacancy to be created by Justice David's Souter's pending retirement is Solicitor General Elena Kagan. She gave opening remarks at the one-day session, talking about the importance of her role representing the federal government before the the Supreme Court. Souter later addressed the gathering with a call for greater citizen understanding and appreciation for the role courts play in society.
Sources say Wood is among the leading candidates to become the nation's 111th justice, along with Kagan and New York-based federal appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor, among others.
Wood, who also teaches part time at the University of Chicago, abruptly canceled her Tuesday evening civil procedure class without explanation, a source said.
Among leading non-judicial candidates being considered is Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Sources close to the selection process said she, too, has met privately with the president, when she was in town earlier this week to participate in a White House announcement on fuel efficiency standards for automobiles.
Considered one of the sharpest minds on the Chicago, Illinois-based appeals court, Wood has known Obama from his days as a part-time instructor at the University of Chicago. They have remained casual, but not close, friends since then. She will turn 59 in July and is among the oldest candidates being given serious scrutiny for the high court.
The White House has given no official indication of when Obama will make his choice, but sources say an announcement is expected by month's end.
I still think Ms. Sotomayor is the #1 contender.
I like Wood, she's relatively moderate and well-qualified. Unfortunately, Obama's going to have a lot of political pressure on him from the left wing to make his first appointment not just a woman, but a minority woman. The ugly truth is we rarely get the best and brightest, we get the most politically expedient and inoffensive.
Mr. President, I support your choice for the Supreme Court Justice.
HEY, SHE'S NOT BLACK!!!!
I voted for Obama so he'd put nothing but minorities in positions of power. I'm sooooo upset!!!
Was Mrs Wood on the approved NARAL list given to Obama?
pick an outright idiot, like
ya' know someone who wants to legislate from the bench by "making policy"- like, the activist judge, Sotomayor
@ NObama is our downfall
Thank you for helping to keep alive the perception of the GOP as a gaggle of car-carrying sheet-wearing hood-sporting cross-burning racists. Your contribution is invaluable.
Nancy Pelosi should be available soon for other employment. She is equally unqualified as the other flaming liberals that Obama loves so much.
Dirty Chicago politics are now mainstream normal.., without a doubt.
He managed to fit it in between giving celebs the red carpet treatment at the WH.
President PhotoOp, our hero.
Homeland Security Secretary would make an excellent justice.
JHEARD – "Mr. President, I support your choice for the Supreme Court Justice."
You stupid Lemming. He hasn't chosen anyone yet. How do you know it won't be Burris or Wright. I know, you'll support it anyway. If we could only have voted for None of the Above................
Please NOT HER! Check out Judge Janice Rogers Brown.....The real deal.......
Is obama looking in the mirror again
Anybody but Jennifer Granholm!
Although it would be a dream come true to ship out of Michigan, she is a numbskull with ZERO judicial experience of any description. She is a machine politics hack (she was really close to disgraced Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick), she talks to the people of Michigan like she's teaching pre-school, and she considers the State employees' union to be her only real constituency.
In fact, she is very much like Barry O!
President Obama will make the right decision.
I am sure President Obama will make the right choice for America, and not one that passes a religious litmus test for the bible thumpers.
The only reason repubs are pro-life is so they will have someone to kill 18 years later in one of their elective religious wars.
Dear Pat F.
It no longer matters to the majority of Americans that someone actually be qualified for anything. Witness Obama.
Whether people want to see this side of Obama or not – he picks elitists from his shared history – so expect someone from Harvard out of Illinois. Nothing original here.