Unfortunately, President Obama's first nominee to the federal appeals courts – David Hamilton -- is far from being a moderate. In fact, he's a former fundraiser for ACORN (In fairness, I'm told this was his first year out of school, and he did it for only a year -- but it still lets you know where he's coming from) -- and a former leader of the Indiana chapter of the ACLU.
This may not disqualify him from the court, but is ought to disqualify him from being considered a "moderate".
As a district judge, Hamilton issued some very questionable rulings, including invalidating an Indiana law requiring the registration of sex offenders (via the NYT story) -- and preventing an Indiana law from being enforced that required information and a waiting period before an abortion -- A Woman's Choice v. Newman -- (S.D. Ind. 1995, 2001)
The confusion over Hamilton's status as a "moderate" may be due to the contrast between his words and his actions.
As the Judicial Confirmation Network -- a group that works to ensure confirmation of "highly qualified individuals to the Supreme Court" -- writes in a press release today, "Hamilton's actions as a judge contradict what he wrote on a Senate questionnaire when he was nominated to the district court bench."
In response to a question about judicial activism, he wrote: "Because the federal judiciary is insulated from political pressures in many ways, the members of that judiciary have a responsibility to exercise their power with restraint and deference to the elected branches of government, and with appropriate respect and restraint when dealing with state and local governments."
Like Obama's presidency, Hamilton's record does not match his words.