Lawrence resident Deanell Reece Tacha, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, was mentioned on a national news program Friday as a possible replacement for outgoing Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Tacha said she didn't hear the mention by legal correspondent Nina Totenberg on NPR's "All Things Considered," who listed Tacha among several female appellate judges who might be in line for the seat.
"I don't know a thing about it," Tacha said Friday evening. "I just don't have any information at all."
Previously Tacha, the highest-level judge living in the Lawrence area, had not surfaced in lists of possible successors to O'Connor. Earlier in the day Friday, Tacha declined to say whether she'd ever have interest in a Supreme Court seat.
"That is definitely the president's preference," she said. "It will be up to him and his advisers about how he proceeds. I just love my job, and I love living in Lawrence."
The list circulating Friday of likely nominees to replace O'Connor included Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales and another 10th Circuit judge, Michael W. McConnell. But some national news reports have speculated that President George W. Bush might be interested in replacing O'Connor, the court's first female justice, with another woman.
- On the Street: What characteristics should Bush consider when choosing a new Supreme Court justice?
- Battle over vacancy could define Bush's presidency (07-02-05)
- Justice O'Connor retiring from court (07-02-05)
- Official biographies of all U.S. Supreme Court Justices (.pdf)
- Wikipedia: Sandra Day O'Connor
Tacha was born in Goodland in 1946 and was nominated to the appeals court by Ronald Reagan in 1985. She was elevated to chief judge status in 2001.
She received a bachelor's degree from Kansas University in 1968 and a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1971.
Her legal career includes an 11-year stint on the KU law school faculty. She is a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.