WASHINGTON – Without Republican support, the Senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed an openly gay woman to become a federal judge in New York.
The 48-44 party-line vote made Alison Nathan, who has served as an adviser to President Barack Obama, the third openly gay person confirmed to the federal bench. Nathan, 39, will serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Republicans said they opposed Nathan’s confirmation because she indicated in a book that judges should consider foreign law in rulings on human rights law.
“Suffice it to say, I believe her record evidences an activist viewpoint,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Democrats praised Nathan’s work in the gay community. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she was a senior adviser to Obama. The next year, she was appointed an associate White House counsel, advising the president on judicial and legal affairs.
Nathan now serves as special counsel to the solicitor general of New York. She graduated from Cornell University and received her law degree there. She was editor-in-chief of the law review.