Subjects of Lawyertown, USA, meet your new king. (Hint, the guy on the right.)
Almost Mayor Vince Gray has picked Irv Nathan to be the District’s next attorney general. Nathan is currently the general counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Like Still Attorney General Peter Nickles, the man he’ll be replacing (unless the D.C. Council says otherwise), Nathan is a short, white, old man. The Post‘s Tim Craig finds this fact surprising; he reports that some were expecting the next A.G. to be either black or a woman. Or a black woman.
Nathan says he’s from Baltimore but has lived in the District (Ward 3) for the last 35 plus years. And no, he does not own a horse farm. He was tapped for his current gig by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in 2007. Prior to that, he worked at the powerhouse law firm Arnold and Porter. In a statement, Pelosi said Nathan had served the House “with distinction.”
“In particular, his work was invaluable in vindicating the House’s congressional subpoena authority in a landmark contempt of Congress case, in which the House Judiciary Committee enforced subpoenas issued by the committee seeking information from the Bush White House on the firing of several U.S. attorneys,” said Pelosi.
A selective stroll down archive lane reveals the following about Nathan:
- He was once scolded thusly by the famous U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan: “You have insulted not only the city government, but everyone living in D.C.” Nathan was representing the rail company CSX, which apparently was upset that the D.C. Council didn’t want hazardous freight running through town. (Similarly, Sullivan once told Nickles to quit “playing games.”)
- When shock jock Howard Stern and CBS went to court, Nathan represented CBS.
- He represented the CFO of WorldCom (remember that fiasco?).
- He also represented a West Palm Beach lawyer charged with wrongdoing in the collapse of a savings and loans. (Savings and loans, remember those fiascoes!?)
At that point, LL’s Nexis connection stopped working. Anyway, Gray took a not-very-veiled parting jab at Nickles at the news conference where he introduced Nathan.
“Mr. Nathan will join me in taking politics out of the office of the attorney general. Public safety decisions can’t be based on political motives that cloud the judgment of those empowered to apply the law and serve the people of the District of Columbia,” Gray said. Or, in other words, Man, I’m still ticked off about my fence!
Nathan said he thought Nickles was “very talented and energetic.” When asked what he thought of some of the politically sensitive investigations Nickles is leaving him with, Nathan said he’s not going to comment before being briefed and he’s not going to make up his mind based on what he’s read in the newspaper. Apparently, Nathan hasn’t been informed that as the new AG, he gets his own column in the Post. It’s called the editorial page! Kidding!
Nathan declined to say who he voted for, or how he voted on the referendum to have an elected A.G. position, but did say he won’t be running for the position in 2014.
In other news: Gray announced that MPD Chief Cathy Lanier will keep her job, and former Assistant Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe will be his new fire chief. Gray also announced that he’s re-establishing the position for deputy mayor for public safety and justice, and Paul A. Quander Jr. will be filling that role. The Quander family name, if you didn’t know, is about as old school as they come in D.C.
Nickles photo by Darrow Montgomery. Nathan photo courtesy of the Abramson Foundation.