Retired Judge Patricia Wald, 75, joined the president's intelligence commission
after a legal career that included serving on the U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia and International Criminal Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia.
Wald, considered a liberal Democrat, served as assistant U.S. attorney general
for legislative affairs during much of the Carter administration, until President
Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 1979.
She was the first woman to serve on the appeals court and was its chief judge
from 1986 to 1991.
In March 1998, she crossed paths with fellow commissioner and Circuit Court
Judge Laurence Silberman when she replaced Silberman after he recused himself
due to a conflict of interest on a three-judge panel hearing Microsoft's appeal
against the Department of Justice.
In 1999, she retired from the federal appeals court and spent two years in
The Hague as a judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
She has been a vocal supporter of the International Criminal Court and has
criticized the Bush administration's withdrawal from that body.
Wald also served as chairwoman of the Open Society Criminal Justice Initiative,
a program sponsored by wealthy financier and philanthropist George Soros, and
resigned from the board position in February 2004.
Wald's recent work has focused primarily on international law, leaving many
to wonder about her lack of experience in intelligence matters. However, other
pundits say her lack of experience in intelligence will prove to be an asset
to the panel's mission.
New York Times columnist
David Brooks, speaking on the NewsHour in February 2004, welcomed Wald's
the commission had "smart independent
people who could take a look at not only the intelligence and the details but
the way people in the intelligence community think and who aren't part of that
... mentality that really is endemic to the intelligence community."
Wald's views diverge from
those of the Bush administration on a number of legal matters, including
trial of Saddam Hussein. Commenting
on how the trial should be handled, Wald told CBS News that "the Iraqi
tribunal should be operated like an international court. ... The worst possibility
would be a truly Iraqi body with Iraqi jurists and purely American advisers."
"If international jurists are not involved, and I mean across the board,
not just Americans, they run the risk of compromising their credibility," said
Wald, who, along with other international legal experts, examined the statute
of the Iraqi Special Tribunal in December 2003.
Wald graduated from Connecticut
College for Women in 1948 and Yale Law School in 1951. She has been honored
with awards from many groups, including the International
Human Rights Law Group, the Environmental Law Institute and the Washington
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
She is married to Robert
Wald, a partner with Nussbaum & Wald in Washington,
D.C. They have five children.
Compiled by Karyn Schwartz for the Online NewsHour