Possible Supreme Court Nominee Wood In the Spotlight As Judges Take Up Religious Bias Case

May 13, 2009

Author: Mike Robinson

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Wire Service: AP


When a federal appeals court meets in Chicago to take up a bitter dispute over alleged religious discrimination by a condo association the judges themselves could end up as the main attraction.

President Barack Obama is weighing possible candidates to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat of retiring Justice David Souter and two members of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are considered possible picks.

Judge Diane P. Wood, 58, a former University of Chicago law professor like Obama, is getting the biggest share of the spotlight. And Wednesday's hearing focuses on a case in which she wrote a dissenting opinion.

Judge Ann Claire Williams, 59, a former federal prosecutor, is also getting some attention as a possible Supreme Court nominee.

Oral arguments before the full appeals court are set for Wednesday in what has come to be known as "the mezuzah case."

A mezuzah is part of Jewish religious tradition — a small scroll held in a metal, plastic or glass case a householder affixes to the door frame.

In the case before the court, the Shoreline Towers Condominium Association repeatedly removed a mezuzah from the front door of Chicago condo owner Lynne Bloch. The association said it violated a rule against placing any objects, religious or otherwise, on doors or in common halls.