06/06/2011, by Melanie Nathan
Out Lesbian federal court nominee Alison Nathan will have her confirmation hearing Wednesday, June 8. President Obama nominated Nathan March 31 to a seat on the U.S. District Court for Southern New York, which covers Manhattan.
Nathan, as an attorney at the Wilmer Cutler, Pickering Hale and Dorr law firm, represented several “national civil rights organizations” in a challenge to a military law prohibiting private consensual sodomy. The challenge came after the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down state laws prohibiting private consensual sex between same-sex partners, in Lawrence v. Texas.
The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, she noted, adopted “significant components” of WilmerHale’s argument that the Lawrence ruling applied to the military. Nathan did not specify which groups her law firm represented, but court records indicate they included the ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Nathan served as a White House counsel before taking a position as special counsel to New York State’s solicitor general. She also served as a law clerk to now retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and is a former assistant professor of law at Fordham University.
The Senate Judiciary Committee in April recommended the confirmation of openly gay nominee Paul Oetken. Like Nathan, Oetken has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for Manhattan.
Nathan and her partner, New York University School of Law Associate Professor of Clinical Law, Margaret (Meg) Satterthwaite, are parents to twin sons.
Nathan’s hearing Wednesday begins at 2:30 EDT.