You'll remember that this is the vacancy — the last of four on the district bench that Obama's had an opportunity to fill in Arkansas — for which the president rejected an initial batch of three nominees submitted by U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. A new batch recommended by Sen. Pryor after Lincoln's defeat included Baker, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Duke, and Public Service Commission Chairman Colette Honorable.
Baker's firm bio shows she focuses on business litigation.
Her nomination requires Senate confirmation. With an election less than a year away, that could prove tricky. Republicans have already been slow-walking Obama judicial nominations.
UPDATE: Quicker than I thought. Nomination official and news release follows.
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, President Obama nominated Kristine Gerhard Baker to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
“I am proud to nominate Kristine Gerhard Baker to serve on the United States District Court,” said President Obama. “I am confident she will serve on the federal bench with distinction.”
Kristine Gerhard Baker: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas
Kristine Gerhard Baker is a partner at the law firm Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull & Burrow PLLC in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she specializes in commercial, employment, and First Amendment litigation. Baker joined the firm as an associate in 2000 and became a partner in 2002. She previously worked at the law firm Williams & Anderson LLP from 1998 to 2000. Baker began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Susan Webber Wright of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas from 1996 to 1998. She received her J.D. with high honors in 1996 from the University of Arkansas School of Law and her B.A. summa cum laude in 1993 from Saint Louis University.