Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today delivered remarks at the Senate Judiciary Committee introducing Ali Nathan, his recommendation to be a Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:
Today, I return to the committee because this is an exciting day, where I get to introduce a truly exciting, and really remarkable nominee to sit on the federal bench.
It is my honor to introduce Judge Ali Nathan, originally from Philadelphia but now from my hometown of New York, nominated by President Biden to serve as Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
The most important thing to know about Judge Nathan is that she is here today with some pretty important guests: in the audience are her twin sons, her wife Meg, and her wonderful parents.
What’s the sign of a great upbringing? It’s having two parents who hail from Brooklyn, and in Ali’s case having a dad who graduated from my own James Madison High School.
I’ll leave it to others to say whether I’m biased or not.
Kidding aside, I want to applaud Judge Nathan’s wonderful family. The work of a judge is a dense, difficult, and often draining job—it’s important to have a strong support system to put everything into perspective, and I offer my praise to Judge Nathan’s family for being here.
Members of the committee: this is the second time I have recommended Judge Nathan for a role on the federal bench.
Roughly a decade ago, I made my case to President Obama that Ali Nathan—with her impressive career, unassailable credentials, and obvious skills as a lawyer—deserved consideration as a District Court Judge in the Southern District of New York. I am glad President Obama listened, and a decade later we all know it was the right decision.
Judge Nathan’s resume speaks for itself: she is a graduate of Cornell Law, served as Editor in Chief of the Law Review, and clerked for Judge Betty Fletcher in the Ninth Circuit and Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court.
She has taught at Fordham Law, served in the White House Counsel’s Office, and served as counselor to the New York State Solicitor General, prior to her appointment to the bench.
Her time on the bench is equally commendable. During her tenure she has presided over many high profile and difficult cases, some which have gained attention in the press. All the way she’s won praise for her brilliance, her skill as a fair and neutral arbitration, and her unbroken fidelity to the rule of law.
She comes before the committee with the endorsement of scores of professionals who have worked with her over her career, including her former fellow Supreme Court Clerks who have highlighted her kindness, her intellectual curiosity, her levelheadedness, and humility.
And if confirmed to the Second Circuit, Judge Nathan would be only the second LGBTQ woman to serve as a federal appellate judge in the United States—another important step in tearing down the barriers in the halls of justice.
I believe that our courts are at their strongest when our judges mirror the richness and dynamism of our democracy. I have been proud to work with many of you this year in advancing nominees who are not only immensely qualified as potential jurists, but who shatter the mold of judicial nominees that we’ve grown accustomed to for so long.
We hope the trailblazers of today can be closer to the norm of tomorrow: we want our courts to include more women, more diverse candidates (both demographically and professionally), and more judges who come from unique backgrounds. It’s essential for our democracy and for Americans’ faith in the solemn promise of “equal justice under law” that all are entitled to, from the impoverished to the privileged.
There is not a doubt in my mind that Judge Nathan would help advance that cause. Nor do I question that she’ll continue applying the law fairly and impartially as she has done throughout her time as a district judge.
For these reason I am so very, very proud to support her nomination and I thank the committee for their time.