Alison Nathan, a former associate White House counsel who's been nominated for a federal judgeship in the Southern District of New York, continues to face pointed questions from the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Nathan was the focus of questioning from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on June 8, when she and three other district court nominees appeared for their confirmation hearing. Grassley asked at the time whether Nathan, 39, has enough experience to be a judge, as well as about her views on the death penalty and other issues.
In written questions to Nathan after the hearing, Grassley followed a similar line of inquiry.
Grassley asked Nathan about a 2008 blog post on the Web site of the liberal American Constitution Society. The post related to the death penalty case Baze v. Rees, in which Nathan was representing an amicus party in the Supreme Court, and to the standard for determining whether a punishment is cruel or unusual under the Eighth Amendment. “Under your analysis of the Eighth Amendment, how should a judge determine whether a particular method risks unnecessary pain?” Grassley asked.
Nathan responded by quoting Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.’s opinion in the case and adding that, if she were confirmed, she would “faithfully apply the standard articulated by Chief Justice Roberts in his opinion for the Supreme Court.”
Grassley also asked Nathan’s opinion on the use of foreign law while interpreting the U.S. Constitution. She responded that foreign law “would have no relevance to my interpretation of the United States Constitution” and that she would “follow binding Supreme Court precedent.”
Click here (PDF) for the full back-and-forth. A committee vote on Nathan’s nomination hasn’t been scheduled.