Tanya Chutkan, a partner in the Washington office of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, is President Barack Obama's latest pick to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Chutkan was one of eight U.S. district court nominees the White House announced late yesterday. The president also named two nominees to federal appellate courts.
An attorney at Boies Schiller since 2002, Chutkan's practice specializes in antitrust class actions and other complex litigation. She was part of the legal team that won a $162 million judgment earlier this year in a price-fixing class action against Chinese manufacturers of Vitamin C. Her practice also includes white-collar defense.
Chutkan spent more than a decade at the Public Defender Services for the District of Columbia before joining Boies Schiller, as a trial attorney and supervisor. She previously worked at Donovan, Leisure, Rogovin, Huge & Schiller and Hogan & Hartson (today Hogan Lovells) after earning her law degree in 1987 from the University of Pennsylvania law School.
If confirmed, Chutkan would fill an extra vacancy created on the D.C. federal court bench when U.S. District Judge John Bates became director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in June. The president is required to nominate another judge to a court where an active, non-senior judge takes on a full-time federal judicial administration position.
Chutkan could not immediately be reached for comment.
Boies Schiller Managing Partner Don Flexner said today that Chutkan was "well-respected" by judges, effective on her feet, and "just a first-rate person."
"Perhaps as important as all the skillsets that she has, she is a person of just consummate decency," Flexner said. "I think she will be a welcome addition to the bench in Washington."
Firm partner William Isaacson, who tried the Vitamin C case with Chutkan, along with other matters, said trial lawyers would be pleased to have her as their judge, given her background. "It’s a fabulous choice," he said, adding jokingly that it was also "terrible for me."
Obama on Thursday nominated two sitting federal district court judges to appeals courts. Judge Julie Carnes of the Northern District of Georgia was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and Judge Gregg Jeffrey Costa of the Southern District of Texas was tapped for a Fifth Circuit seat.
Seven other lawyers were nominated to federal district courts, including five seats deemed "judicial emergencies" by the administrative office:
- Judge Michael Boggs of the Court of Appeals of Georgia, to the Northern District of Georgia;
- Mark Cohen of Troutman Sanders, to the Northern District of Georgia;
- Magistrate Judge M. Hannah Lauck of the Eastern District of Virginia, to the same court;
- Leigh May of Butler, Wooten & Fryhofer, to the Northern District of Georgia;
- Judge Eleanor Ross of the DeKalb County State Court in Georgia, to the Northern District of Georgia;
- Chief Magistrate Judge Leo Sorokin of the District of Massachusetts, to the same court; and,
- Judge James Soto, the presiding Superior Court judge in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, to the District of Arizona.
Updated at 10:58 a.m.