Batchelder was moved by the petitioner but wrote in dissent: "I do not want to see Ejelonu deported. If the majority's opinion represented a legitimate means by which to overturn the ... deportation order, I could -- and would -- join it without hesitation. It doesn't, and I can't." The majority's opinion was subsequently vacated by the full 6th Circuit.
National Review also said Batchelder is not a "pushover for corporations." In a recent decision in Wolf Creek Collieries v. Sammons, a case involving a widow's claim for Black Lung benefits, Batchelder granted the widow's benefits and chastised the corporation for dragging out the litigation in a "Thirty Years War."
Unlike previous Bush nominee Harriet Miers, who was criticized by both parties for her lack of credentials, Batchelder has a long record of judicial opinions on a variety of hot-button issues -- as well as some controversies.
A 1999 article in The Washington Post included Batchelder among federal judges who ruled in cases in which they have a financial conflict of interest. She ruled in five lawsuits involving Wal-Mart and Bristol Myers Squibb while her husband's retirement account held up to $50,000 in stock in those companies.
Batchelder and two other judges ruled that Wal-Mart could not be held liable for selling a 19-year-old a .357 Magnum revolver, which he later used to commit suicide. She told the Post that until contacted by a reporter she did not realize her husband's retirement account owned stock in Wal-Mart and other companies and said she should have withdrawn from this appeal and four other cases. "I'm extremely chagrined to discover it," she said. "The error is mine."
On the issue of abortion, Batchelder was in the majority of a split panel that voted to uphold the Ohio Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. This is one instance in which retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has been the swing vote. Batchelder falls on the other side.
In a landmark affirmative action case, Batchelder wrote a dissent in the 6th Circuit's opinion that upheld the constitutionality of the University of Michigan's law school affirmative action program. In her dissent, she endorses "all of" the dissent by her colleague Judge Danny Boggs, which called affirmative action a "straightforward instance of racial discrimination by a state institution."
Following that case, Batchelder was involved in a dispute over alleged misconduct by Chief Judge Boyce Martin of the 6th Circuit Court. She was involved in the complaint and then later presided over the dispute, ultimately dismissing it. Some Democratic critics said her conduct -- the accused judge was not given a chance to defend himself, and Batchelder refused to speak with him directly -- shows she doesn't have the judicial temperament needed for the High Court.
In other cases, Batchelder took a restrictive view of the Commerce Clause in United States v. Faasse, arguing that the federal Child Support Recovery Act was beyond Congress' power under the Commerce Clause, despite the fact that the law applies only when a non-custodial parent living in a different state than the other parent and child was trying to shirk child support obligations. In rejecting Batchelder's view, the en banc 6th Circuit explained that it "represents a completely discredited understanding of the Commerce Clause" and would "render unconstitutional innumerable federal statutes."