Floating Batchelder:

The buzz around the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for John Roberts last week was that one of the people President Bush may be considering to replace Justice Sandra Day O??¢â???¬â???¢Connor is Alice M. Batchelder.

Batchelder is a Cleveland, Ohio-based judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. She was appointed to that bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. Before that she was a federal district judge, appointed by President Ronald Reagan. Her husband, Bill Batchelder, a state judge, formerly served as a conservative state House member and was the Ohio chairman of Reagan??¢â???¬â???¢s 1980 campaign. Judge Alice Batchelder was one of two appellate court judges who upheld Ohio??¢â???¬â???¢s partial-birth abortion ban in 2003, and last year she issued a powerful dissent from a ruling that ordered a local judge to remove a framed Ten Commandments from his courtroom. Politically, a Batchelder nomination would be a plus because of her conservative credentials and because she is from Ohio??¢â???¬"a key swing state, where her views are popular. On the other hand, she is 61 years old.