The judge deciding what could become a landmark gay marriage case in Virginia defies easy characterization.
U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen was a prosecutor and a public defender. Liberals may like that the 53-year-old was appointed by President Barack Obama, while conservatives may like her years of service as a Navy officer and as a no-nonsense prosecutor.
She has been on the federal bench for less than three years and is now overseeing the highest-profile case of her judicial career: a lawsuit seeking to overturn Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage.
Defense lawyers and prosecutors praise her as smart and open-minded and say her breadth of experience makes her difficult to pigeonhole.
At Tuesday's hearing, Wright Allen did not tip her hand, promising only that she would rule soon.