President Bush interviewed Edith Brown Clement at the White House in July, and for several hours the media focused on her as a likely nominee before the president named John G. Roberts Jr. to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Clement, 57, sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, and is based in New Orleans. She rode out Hurricane Katrina at the home of a colleague, Judge E. Grady Jolly, in Jackson, Miss.

President George H.W. Bush appointed Clement to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in 1991, and she was elevated to her current post in 2001.

Before becoming a judge, she had a private law practice for 16 years in New Orleans, specializing in maritime law and representing oil companies, insurance firms and the marine services industry. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama and Tulane University Law School.

She is a member of the Federalist Society, an influential conservative legal organization. Lawyers who know Clement 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.

-- Alan Cooperman