Tanya S. Chutkan

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Tanya S. Chutkan
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Assumed office
June 5, 2014
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded bySeat established by 104 Stat. 5089
Personal details
Tanya Sue Chutkan

(1962-07-05) July 5, 1962 (age 58)
Kingston, Jamaica
Spouse(s)Peter A. Krauthamer
EducationGeorge Washington University (B.A.)
University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D.)

Tanya Sue Chutkan (born July 5, 1962) is a Jamaican-born American District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.


Chutkan was born on July 5, 1962, in Kingston, Jamaica.[1] She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983 from George Washington University and a Juris Doctor in 1987 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. From 1987 to 1990, she worked at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson LLP (now Hogan Lovells). From 1990 to 1991, she worked at the law firm of Donovan, Leisure, Rogovin, Huge & Schiller. From 1991 to 2002, she was a trial attorney and supervisor at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. She was a partner at the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, where her practice focused on complex civil litigation and specifically antitrust class action cases.[2][3]

Her husband Peter Krauthamer, a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 11, 2011, and sworn in on April 20, 2012.[4] They have two sons.[5]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On December 19, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Chutkan to serve as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, to a new seat created pursuant to 104 Stat. 5089, on July 1, 2013.[6][7] She received a hearing before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on February 25, 2014.[8] On March 27, 2014, her nomination was reported out of committee by voice vote.[9] On June 4, 2014, the United States Senate voted in favor of final confirmation by a vote of 95–0.[10][11] She received her judicial commission on June 5, 2014.[3]

Notable cases[edit]

In February 2017, Public.Resource.Org was sued by the American Society for Testing and Materials, the National Fire Protection Association, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, and other entities for scanning and making available building codes and fire codes which these organizations consider their copyrighted property.[12][13] Chutkan ruled against Public.Resource.Org, ordering all of the standards to be deleted from the Internet.[14]

In summer 2017 Chutkan presided over the Imran Awan and Hina Alvi fraud case.[15]

In Garza v. Hargan (2017), Chutkan ordered the Office of Refugee Resettlement to allow a girl in its care to have an abortion.[16] That ruling was vacated by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, reinstated by the full en banc D.C. Circuit, and ultimately mooted by the U.S. Supreme Court.[17] In March 2018, Chutkan certified a class action and ordered the government to provide access to abortions to all girls in ORR's custody.[18]

On June 8, 2018, Chutkan blocked until June 20 the release in Syrian Democratic Forces-controlled territory of a dual-nationality Saudi-American citizen alleged to have joined ISIL. The man, who is now held for nine months in Iraq, was planned to be released by the U.S. military – with a new cell phone, some food and water and $4,210 in cash, and his Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) identification card, as soon as the next day.[19][20]

On March 7, 2019, Chutkan ruled that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos illegally delayed the implementation of the "Equity in IDEA" regulations. These regulations updated how states calculate racial disparities in the identification of children as being eligible for special education, the placement of children in restrictive classroom settings, and the use exclusionary discipline. Chutkan also ruled that the U.S. Department of Education violated the law concerning the spread of regulations by neglecting to provide a "reasoned explanation" for the delay, and failing to account for the costs that child, parents, and society would bear.[21]

On April 26, 2019, Chutkan sentenced Maria Butina to 18 months in prison for conspiring to be an unregistered agent of the Russian government in the United States.[22][23]

On November 20, 2019, Chutkan issued a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of Justice, finding that federal inmates sentenced to death were likely to succeed in arguing that the federal government's new lethal injection procedure—which uses a single drug, pentobarbital, rather than the three-drug combination previously in place--“exceeds statutory authority" under the Federal Death Penalty Act.[24] Chutkan's order was later reversed by a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit,[25] and the case is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Attorney Tanya S Chutkan – Lawyer in". www.lawyercentral.com.
  2. ^ "President Obama Nominates Eight to Serve on the United States District Courts". whitehouse.gov. 19 December 2013 – via National Archives.
  3. ^ a b "Chutkan, Tanya Sue – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  4. ^ "Peter Arno Krauthamer – Ballotpedia".
  5. ^ "Opening Statement of Peter A. Krauthamer" (PDF). United States Senate. November 8, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  6. ^ "Pres. Nom. 2042, 113th Cong. (2013)". Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". whitehouse.gov. 19 December 2013 – via National Archives.
  8. ^ "Nominations". United States Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Executive Business Meeting" (PDF). United States Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Pres. Nom. 1227, 113th Cong. (2014)". Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  11. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 2nd Session". Vote Summary: Vote Number 173. United States Senate. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Public.Resource.Org Fights Back Against Copyright Lawsuit". 20 August 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Docket at Justia
  14. ^ Masnick, Mike (3 February 2017). "Federal Court Basically Says It's Okay To Copyright Parts Of Our Laws". Techdirt.
  15. ^ "'Rigged' Awan Judge Appointed By Obama After Giving Thousands in Campaign Cash; Her Husband Appointed a Judge by Obama Too". 13 September 2017.
  16. ^ Note, Recent Case: En Banc D.C. Circuit Upholds Order Requiring HHS to Allow an Undocumented Minor to Have an Abortion, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 1812 (2018).
  17. ^ Liptak, Adam (4 June 2018). "Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Discipline A.C.L.U." The New York Times. p. A14. Retrieved 18 June 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ Stevens, Matt (31 March 2018). "Judge Temporarily Stops U.S. From Blocking Undocumented Teenagers' Abortions". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  19. ^ "Judge questions plan to release US detainee into Syrian war zone". The Daily Star. 8 June 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  20. ^ Gresko, Jessica (8 June 2018). "Government will hold off releasing American back to Syria". WLNS. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  21. ^ Green, Erica L. (8 March 2019). "Judge Rules DeVos Held Up Obama-era Rule on Special Education". The New York Times. p. A15. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Russian agent jailed for targeting NRA". 2019-04-26. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  23. ^ "Russian Agent Maria Butina Sentenced To 18 Months Following Guilty Plea". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-04-26. U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ordered the 18-month sentence and said Butina would receive credit for the roughly nine months she has already served.
  24. ^ Berman, Mark (2019-11-21). "Federal judge blocks Trump administration's plans to resume executions". Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  25. ^ Swanson, Ian (2020-05-20). "Death row inmates ask for stay while they appeal to Supreme Court". TheHill. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  26. ^ "Trump Federal Execution Revival Back at Supreme Court (1)". news.bloomberglaw.com. Retrieved 2020-06-16.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 104 Stat. 5089
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia