Judge Alice Moore Batchelder serves on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and is widely regarded by friends and colleagues as someone who applies the law and believes that judges do not make laws.
"There have been a lot of times in my years as a judge where I didn't like the outcome that the law required, but it was not my place to substitute my policy choice for that of the legislatures that drafted those laws, to impose will instead of judgment," Batchelder said in a speech last month. "Instead, my job -- as we used to describe it in my chambers -- was to hold my nose and decide. And I did that, I'm still doing that, I'm about to do it again."
Born in Wilmington, Del., Batchelder, 61, was raised in Ohio in what one published report described as a modest home where her parents baked bread to sell to neighbors during the Great Depression.
A former English teacher who still has a penchant for words, Batchelder earned her bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1964 and her law degree in 1971 from Akron University School of Law, where she was editor in chief of the law review in a class with only six women. She also earned her master's in law from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1988.
Batchelder worked in private practice in her hometown of Medina, Ohio, which is south of Cleveland, for 12 years. She then was a U.S. bankruptcy judge for the Northern District of Ohio from 1982 to 1985, when she was appointed by President Reagan to be a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Ohio. She held that post until January 1992 when she was appointed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President George H.W. Bush.
As a circuit court judge, Batchelder was described by the National Review as "a voice of reason on the oft-contentious" court and as an expert in business law from her experience with securities cases and bankruptcy court.
Peter W. Schramm, executive director of the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs, said in a column that Batchelder has "a record of consistent and conservative judicial philosophy" and is someone who "brings a real-world, beyond-the-Beltway perspective" to her job.
Her colleagues and friends told ABC News that she is a constitutionalist and a rigorous practitioner of judicial restraint, and her own comments indicate as much. "Applying the limits found in the Constitution is not Republican, it's not Democrat, it is the duty of every judge who has taken an oath to uphold and defend that precious document," Batchelder said in the recent speech.
As someone who wears sweatshirts and jeans to work and allows her staff to dress casually, she is regarded as down-to-earth but also "very smart" and outgoing -- one friend told ABC News that her demeanor would serve her well in a confirmation hearing.
As an example of her judicial restraint, National Review cited Batchelder's ruling in Ejelonu v. INS. A young woman was facing deportation, caused in part by delays in the government processing of INS paperwork. A majority overturned an administrative court's holding by relying on a centuries-old English write that was explicitly abolished by Congress in the 1940s.