Tanya S. Chutkan at her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing (Diego M. Radzinschi)
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified JPMorgan as the plaintiff in a suit in Washington federal district court over liability for faulty mortgage-backed securities. Deutsche Bank is the plaintiff.
The Senate Judiciary Committee today had no tough questions for Boies, Schiller & Flexner partner Tanya Chutkan during her confirmation hearing for a spot on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Chutkan described her judicial philosophy (open-minded, fair and prepared) and voiced support for programs to reduce recidivism. “Impartiality is bedrock, listening to both sides, treating all people who come before me, be they individuals or corporations, with respect and with dignity,” Chutkan said.
Chutkan, a longtime former public defender with the D.C. Public Defender Service, would join one other African-American woman currently sitting on the federal trial bench as a U.S. district judge, Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-D.C.) said at the hearing. (President Obama successfully appointed Ketanji Brown Jackson, who took the bench in March.)
With no apparent opposition, Chutkan appears poised to join her husband, Peter Krauthamer, as a judicial duo in Washington. Krauthamer serves on the District of Columbia Superior Court.
At Boies Schiller, Chutkan focuses on general civil litigation, including the defense of banks in class actions and representing plaintiffs in antitrust class actions. Her practice also includes white-collar defense.
Chutkan has tried 40 to 45 cases, the “vast majority” when she was with the D.C. Public Defender Service, according to nomination paperwork she submitted in the Senate. Chutkan runs the pro bono program at Boies Schiller, where she has worked since 2002. She reported income of $550,000 in 2013 and $222,000 in 2012, and a net worth of $2.7 million, according to her nomination papers.
Chutkan has represented Deutsche Bank in a major financial case before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Deutsche Bank is seeking $10 billion from JPMorgan for faulty mortgage-backed securities that it purchased from Washington Mutual before JPMorgan bought that failed bank in 2008. She was part of the legal team that won a $162 million judgment earlier this year in the Eastern District of New York in a price-fixing class action against Chinese manufacturers of vitamin C.
In her Senate papers, Chutkan listed two cases as her most significant. In 2007, she said she represented a major corporate client in a grand jury investigation of alleged false statements made during an inquiry into an environmental law violation. Prosecutors closed the matter without criminal charges, Chutkan said.
Chutkan participated in an internal investigation for a corporate client into possible leaks of secret and sensitive material to Chinese nationals. The case did not result in the prosecution of any employee, she said.
The Senate committee also held confirmation hearings Tuesday for U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and John Cruden to head the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental Division.
Contact Todd Ruger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated Feb. 26 at 12:54 p.m.