Diane Sykes is a favorite of conservative legal scholars. She is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit who was appointed by President Bush and had been mentioned has a potential Supreme Court nominee in his second term. President elect Trump has said that he would consider her for a Supreme Court appointment.
Sykes graduated from Brown Deer high school in 1976 and then earned her B.S. degree in journalism at Northwestern University in 1980. Four years later she earned her J.D. at Marquette University Law School. After law school, Sykes clerked for Judge Terence T. Evans at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. From 1985 to 1992, she worked in private practice as a litigator for a medium-sized law firm in Milwaukee, Whyte & Hirschboek.
Sykes won the election to a newly created trial judge seat on the Milwaukee Court circuit in 1992. She served in the misdemeanor, felony and civil divisions until 1999 when she left for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. She served until her appointment to the Seventh Circuit in 2004.
President George W. Bush nominated Sykes to a seat on the Seventh Circuit on November 14, 2003 with the Senate Judiciary Committee approving her nomination 14-5 on March 11, 2004. She was confirmed 70-27 by the U.S. Senate on June 24, 2004 becoming the first judge appointed to the Seventh Circuit by Bush. Sykes began serving on the court with Judge Evans, the very judge she clerked for at the beginning of her law career.
Sykes has a long list of notable cases with the Supreme Court of Wisconsin as well as with the Seventh Circuit of U.S. Court of Appeals. She is also the author of multiple law review articles.