May 20th, 2009
03:36 PM ET
5 years ago

President meets with another candidate for high court vacancy

President Obama met today with a potential Supreme Court nominee.
President Obama met today with a potential Supreme Court nominee.

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.


Filed under: President Obama • Supreme Court
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz,VA

    I still think Ms. Sotomayor is the #1 contender.

    May 20, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Gimme a Break

    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.

    May 20, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. JHEARD

    Mr. President, I support your choice for the Supreme Court Justice.

    May 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. NObama is our downfall

    HEY, SHE'S NOT BLACK!!!!

    I voted for Obama so he'd put nothing but minorities in positions of power. I'm sooooo upset!!!

    May 20, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. Jon in CA

    Was Mrs Wood on the approved NARAL list given to Obama?

    May 20, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. anita

    pick an outright idiot, like
    ya' know someone who wants to legislate from the bench by "making policy"- like, the activist judge, Sotomayor

    May 20, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    @ 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.

    May 20, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    Nancy Pelosi should be available soon for other employment. She is equally unqualified as the other flaming liberals that Obama loves so much.

    May 20, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. RealityKing

    Dirty Chicago politics are now mainstream normal.., without a doubt.

    May 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. No More Incumbents

    He managed to fit it in between giving celebs the red carpet treatment at the WH.

    President PhotoOp, our hero.

    May 20, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. JHEARD, SURPRISE, AZ

    Homeland Security Secretary would make an excellent justice.

    May 20, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. No More Incumbents

    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................

    May 20, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Simmy

    Please NOT HER! Check out Judge Janice Rogers Brown.....The real deal.......

    May 20, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. WIlly Brown

    Is obama looking in the mirror again

    May 20, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Pat F

    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!

    May 20, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. No name

    President Obama will make the right decision.

    May 20, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. The Party of NO stood by calmly as the shrub raped and pillaged America, why should we listen to you now?

    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.

    May 20, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. phoenix86

    Dear Pat F.

    It no longer matters to the majority of Americans that someone actually be qualified for anything. Witness Obama.

    May 20, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. No Hillary = No 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.

    May 20, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |