Irvin B. Nathan

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Irvin B. Nathan
Attorney General of the District of Columbia
Incumbent
Assumed office
2011
Preceded by Peter Nickles
General Counsel of the United States House of Representatives
In office
2007–2011
Preceded by Geraldine R. Gennet
Succeeded by Kerry W. Kircher
Personal details
Born Baltimore, Maryland
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Judith A. Walter
Residence Washington, D.C.
Alma mater Johns Hopkins University
Columbia Law School
Nickname(s) Irv

Irvin B. Nathan is the current Attorney General of the District of Columbia. He was appointed in 2011 by Mayor Vincent C. Gray. He previously served as the General Counsel of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011.[1]

Legal career[edit]

Nathan grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. His father was a procurement officer for the city, and his mother was a social worker for the state. Nathan attended nearby Johns Hopkins University for college, graduating in 1964. One of his classmates was future Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. He was initially interested in a career in journalism, serving as Editor-in-Chief of the The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, as a sportscaster on the school radio station, and as a summer intern at The Baltimore Sun. However, he became somewhat disillusioned with the field during his summer internships and chose to pursue law instead.[2]

Nathan moved New York City to attend Columbia Law School, graduating in 1967.[3][4] While there, he was a member of the Columbia Law Review and a participant in moot court. After graduation, Nathan clerked for Simon Sobeloff on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, whom he cites as one of his greatest mentors.

He spent most of his career (over 30 years) at Arnold & Porter, first as an associate and later as the senior litigating partner and head of its white collar criminal defense practice. On the side, he served as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center and the University of San Diego Law School.[5]

From 1979 to 1981, Nathan served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice, where he was deeply involved in the Abscam operation. He returned in the early 1990s under the Clinton Administration.

In 2007, Nathan became the General Counsel of the United States House of Representatives, succeeding Geraldine R. Gennet. He served in that position for four years, providing legal advice to members, committees, and institutions within the House. One of his most notable actions during this time was to compel Bush Administration official, Harriet Miers and Joshua Bolten, to comply with their subpoenas. He retired in 2011 following the Republican landslide in the 2010 midterm elections and was succeeded by Deputy General Counsel Kerry W. Kircher.[6]

In 2011, he was appointed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray to be the Attorney General of the District of Columbia.[7] In this position, he manages an office of 700 employees, including 350 lawyers. The position will become an elected office in 2014, and Nathan has stated that he has no intention to run.[8] One of his most notable acts as Attorney General was to sue Harry Thomas, Jr., a sitting member of the Council of the District of Columbia, for corruption.[9]

In July 2012,[10] the DC council voted to postpone the election of attorney general to 2018. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson called the vote "an embarrassment." [10] In September 2013, Paul Zukerberg filed suit against the DC Council and the city elections claiming any delay would violate the District charter — which was amended through the 2010 ballot question to provide for the election of the city’s top lawyer.[10] Nathan represented the city and initially argued that Zukerberg was not suffering any “meaningful hardship” from pushing back the election.[11] In a 265-page opposition to Zukerberg's preliminary injunction, Nathan claimed that "the intent of the voters…is simply not relevant, for a variety of obvious reasons.” [12] In November 2013, Zukerberg announced his candidacy for Attorney General. [11]

On August 28, 2014 Washingtonian magazine reported that three anonymous staff members at the Office of the Attorney General had filed complaints with the D.C. Board of Elections alleging Nathan and Office of the Attorney General employee Timothy Thomas had violated the Hatch Act of 1939 by promoting the campaign of Attorney General candidate Karl Racine at work.[13] Thomas allegedly circulated petition signature sheets to employees at the Office, while according to one employee Nathan "praised and recommended Karl Racine, and he asked us to support him" during two July 9 meetings to discuss the implications of the election for the Office.[13]

References[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Peter Nickles
Attorney General of the District of Columbia
2011-Present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Geraldine R. Gennet
General Counsel of the United States House of Representatives
2007-2011
Succeeded by
Kerry W. Kircher