Michael Nadler is the son of Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Columbia University professor Joyce Miller.
The younger Nadler is an associate attorney at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP in New York City. The law firm has challenged President Trump and his administration in multiple court cases. For example, the firm represented CNN and chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta after the White House suspended Acosta’s press pass. Gibson Dunn also represented six immigrants impacted after the president moved to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In 2018, Gibson Dunn represented the Center for Reproductive Rights against the State Department after the administration allegedly removed sections of a human rights report.
Michael Nadler does not appear to have been involved in the aforementioned lawsuits. But his presence at Gibson Dunn prompted criticism from conservative website Big League Politics, which was started in 2017 by former Breitbart News reporter Patrick Howley. The site accused Rep. Nadler of having a conflict of interest due to his son’s role at the law firm.
Here’s what you need to know about Michael Nadler.
1. Michael Nadler Joined Gibson Dunn in 2018 After Working as a Law Clerk For the Second Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael Nadler studied political science and economics at Columbia University, earning his bachelor’s degree in 2007. He then earned his law degree from the New York University School of Law in 2011. Nadler began his law career working as a law clerk in the Southern District of New York. He then spent four years with the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
In 2017, Nadler went back to being a law clerk, this in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He worked under Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann.
Nadler joined Gibson Dunn as an associate attorney in 2018. His bio on the firm’s website states that he is part of the litigation team and represents “leading companies in the financial, health care, and technology sectors in all phases of civil litigation before both trial and appellate courts.” Companies Nadler has defended have included pharmaceutical company Pfizer, the AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, and Airbnb.
2. Nadler Was Honored With the ‘Above and Beyond Award’ From Sanctuary For Families For a Pro Bono Case Representing a Survivor of Domestic Violence
Michael Nadler’s pro bono practice included representing a client who had endured domestic violence. In 2017, he and associate Allison Penfield defended a woman, called “Susan,” who feared for her life and requested an order of protection against her former partner, “Todd.”
According to Sanctuary for Families, Nadler “single-handedly conducted the direct examination of Susan, and he also cross-examined Todd.” Nadler and Penfield won the case and managed to secure a one-year order of protection.
Nadler was awarded the organization’s Above and Beyond Award for “outstanding pro bono representation and advocacy,” as he explained on his Linkedin profile.
3. Michael Nadler Was Part of the Team That Argued Before the Supreme Court On Behalf of Same-Sex Marriage Rights in the Case of Windsor v. United States
Michael Nadler’s career has included time spent in the Supreme Court. He was part of the legal team that represented Edith Windsor in Windsor v. United States.
Windsor and her partner, Thea Spyer, got married in Canada in 2007 after living as a couple in New York for more than 40 years, as explained by the American Civil Liberties Union. When Spyer died in 2009, the federal government did not acknowledge her marriage to Windsor and imposed taxes on her estate.
Windsor’s attorneys argued that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional and demanded that she receive a refund of the estate tax. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Windsor’s favor. The justices decided that section three of DOMA, which focused on federal benefits and protections, violated equal protection. You can read through the case here.
4. Nadler’s Professional Career Has Included Work on Political Campaigns
Michael Nadler’s father has been serving in Congress since 1992 and his mother, Joyce Miller, has been active in state and government agencies in New York. The younger Nadler was likely inspired by his parents to get involved in politics, though he has refrained from making politics his full focus.
In 2005, during his undergraduate education, Nadler worked on Scott Stringer’s campaign for Manhattan Borough President as an assistant policy director. Stringer won the election. In 2008, Nadler volunteered for Mike McMahon’s campaign, who went on to win the election to represent New York’s 13th district in Congress.
Nadler was a researcher for Eric Schneiderman’s campaign for Attorney General in 2010. And most recently, Nadler helped out in the communications department in Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign.
5. Michael Nadler Met His Wife on JDate & They Have Been Married Since 2016
Michael Nadler married Elyssa Beth Feins on September 5, 2016. According to the wedding announcement in the New York Times, the couple met in 2012 on the Jewish dating site JDate.
Feins, originally from Naples, Florida, is also an attorney. She earned her degree from Brooklyn Law School.
Nadler and Feins have one child together. Nadler posted an adorable picture of the baby to his Facebook page on November 6, 2018. The baby was wearing a onesie that included the words, “Grandpa Nadler for Congress.”