Edith Brown Clement, 57, is a judge on the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Clement was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in 1991 and was elevated to her current post by the current President Bush in 2001.

Clement, a graduate of the University of Alabama and Tulane University Law School, worked as a lawyer in private practice in New Orleans for 16 years before beginning her tenure on the federal bench. She specialized in civil litigation involving maritime law, representing oil companies, insurance companies and the marine services industry in cases before federal courts. She is a member of the Federalist Society, an influential conservative legal organization.

As a district judge, Clement presided over such high-profile cases as the 2000 trials of former Louisiana governor Edwin W. Edwards (D) and former state insurance commissioner Jim Brown (D) on fraud charges. Edwards was acquitted; Brown was convicted of lying to the FBI and sentenced to six months in prison.

Lawyers who know Clement or have tried cases before her describe her as a judicial conservative who leans toward the defense in civil cases, and as a no-nonsense judge who is strict about deadlines and insists on professionalism from lawyers.

Analysts say Clement has not attracted attention for her judicial opinions, so it is unclear which of her decisions, if any, might become the focus of a confirmation battle.

-- Christopher Lee