How Souter Picked Wood Over Wardlaw in AT&T v. Hulteen Opinion

In today’s Daily Journal, your blogger points out how Justice David H. Souter picked Judge Diane Wood over Judge Kim Wardlaw when he wrote his majority opinion in AT&T v. Hulteen earlier this week.

As your blogger reports (wearing his real journalist hat):

Monday’s 7-2 ruling, which resolved a circuit split, held that telecommunications giant AT&T Corp. could not be held liable for refusing to grant pension benefits to female employees for maternity leave taken before a federal law on the matter was passed in 1978. AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen, DJDAR 7019.

That decision reversed a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinion written by Pasadena-based Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, who has been promoted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and others as a possible replacement for Souter. Although reports suggest Wardlaw has not made Obama’s shortlist, she would be the country’s first Hispanic justice if nominated and confirmed.

At the same time, the Supreme Court’s decision embraced the conclusion of the 7th Circuit in a 2000 case dealing with the same issues written by Judge Diane Wood, a frequently mentioned frontrunner to replace Souter.

The full story is available to subscribers only at

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