Diane Pamela Wood is a federal judge on the United States of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, as well as being a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. She was born on July 4th in 1950, in Plainfield, New Jersey. Diane’s mother’s name was Lucille Padmore and her father was Kenneth Reed Wood, who was an accountant at Exxon. When Wood was sixteen years of age her father accepted a transfer to Houston, Texas for another job with Exxon and this is where Wood attended high school at which she was named valedictorian.
Diane attended college at the University of Texas at Austin; she earned a BA after just three years of study, with high honors and special honors in English. It was at this time that Wood had planned on graduating in studies of comparative literature, but changed her mind and went on to law school and in 1972 enrolled herself in University of Texas School of Law.
Wood’s professional career in law began while she clerked for Judge Irving Goldberg of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1975 which lasted all the way through to 1976. In 1976 it was on to clerking for Associate Justice Harry Blackmun of the United States Supreme court, making Diane Wood the first female to serve as a law clerk for the Supreme Court Justice. After Wood’s stint with the Supreme Court, she went on to be an attorney for the Office of the Legal Advisor and from there she practiced at the law firm Covington & Burling in Washington D.C.
Wood was nominated by former President Bill Clinton to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on March 31, 1995. She was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate and received her commission on the 30th of June 1995, making her the second women ever to sit on the Seventh Circuit. It is on the bench that Wood is known for building consensus on the court and rallying other judges to fold to her positions. Wood is considered to be a likely candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court in an Obama Administration.
Throughout her career Wood has had some noteworthy rulings including Toys “R” Us v. the Federal Trade Commission and United States v. Thompson: Georgia Thompson was convicted of corruption charges in a 2006 case, but was released by a unanimous panel of the Seventh Circuit on the very same day that the oral argument was heard. Wood, along with the rest of the panel felt this was absurd considering the government’s evidence was thin to say the least.
Wood has also been referred to as a “Rock star” in the writing world. Besides writing extensively in the area of law, she has also published a full biography that can be found at the University of Chicago Law School. Some of Wood’s writings include “The Changing Face of Diversity Jurisdiction”, “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” and “Reflections on the Judicial Oath.”