Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D)
Elected: 1992, 9th full term.
Born: June 13, 1947, Brooklyn .
Education: Columbia U., B.A. 1970, Fordham U., J.D. 1978.
Family: Married (Joyce Miller); 1 child.
Elected office: NY Assembly, 1976–92.
Professional Career: Legis. asst., NY Assembly, 1972; Law clerk, 1976.
The congressman from the 8th District is Jerrold Nadler, a West Side liberal Democrat elected in 1992. He was born in Brooklyn and moved around with his family as a child. His parents bought a chicken farm in New Jersey, but the business failed, and they moved back to the city. His father ran a gas station on Long Island and owned an auto parts store. Interested in politics from a young age, Nadler campaigned for Democrat Eugene McCarthy for president while at Columbia University, where he roomed with Dick Morris, who would later become a top adviser to President Bill Clinton. The two were at Columbia during the 1968 campus riots. After getting his law degree from Fordham University, Nadler ran for the New York Assembly in 1976, at age 29. In the primary, he beat Ruth Messinger, the Democratic nominee for mayor in 1997, by 73 votes. In 1992, he was suddenly presented with the opportunity to run for Congress. Ted Weiss, long an Upper West Side icon, died the day before the September primary, which he won posthumously. The nomination was decided by a convention of almost 1,000 county Democratic committee members. Nadler won 62% of the votes to secure the nomination and thus the election. He has not been seriously challenged since.
|Jerrold Nadler (D-WF)||160,730||(80%)||($1,044,454)|
|Grace Lin (R-C)||39,047||(20%)|
|Jerrold Nadler (D-WF)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (85%), 2004 (81%), 2002 (76%), 2000 (81%), 1998 (86%), 1996 (82%), 1994 (82%), 1992 (81%), 1992 (100%)
Nadler’s voting record has been among the most liberal in the House, with a strong civil libertarian bent. In 2007, he became chairman of the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, where he has been a counterweight to lawmakers of both parties seeking expanded police powers to crack down on terrorism. It is not because Nadler, as the representative of the site of the September 11 attacks, is unsympathetic to their cause. But he has worked to narrow the definition of “enemy combatants” and to remove restrictions on detainees to protect their habeas corpus rights. In 2008, he sponsored a bill requiring the Federal Bureau of Investigation to surmount higher legal hurdles before being allowed to use “national security letters,” which are government demands for information not subject to judicial review. He vigorously opposed the USA PATRIOT Act, which was the Bush administration’s centerpiece anti-terrorism law. On foreign policy, he has been a staunch supporter of Israel, but he opposed the Iraq war resolution in 2002.
In early 2009, Nadler held hearings to document what he viewed as the “criminal” abuses of the Bush administration and demanded that former Bush aide Karl Rove testify about the “politicization of the Justice Department” after the firing of several U.S. attorneys around the country allegedly for political reasons. As the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee when Republicans were in control, Nadler opposed proposed constitutional amendments to overturn court rulings and legislation to curb abortion rights. He also led the fight in the House against the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, which would ban same-sex marriage. With Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, he sponsored a 2007 bill to permit gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners for legal residency.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Nadler found that his work life became both sad and frenetic. When the second airplane struck the tower, he rushed to catch a 10 a.m. train from Washington to Manhattan. After delays en route, he finally arrived at 6 p.m. and saw a scene he later described as “surrealistic.” He worked with city, state and federal officials as well as local business leaders to identify immediate needs and then to secure $20 billion for rebuilding. He spearheaded numerous actions on behalf of affected families and small businesses.
On other local issues, he successfully fought developer Donald Trump’s attempts to alter the West Side Highway to accommodate his luxury housing project on old rail yards between 59th and 72nd Streets. In a book, Trump termed Nadler “one of the most egregious hacks in contemporary politics.” As a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Nadler has fought to get more rail competition east of the Hudson and to save Amtrak. His biggest project has been a rail-freight tunnel under the Hudson. Lack of a rail-freight line means that New York gets only a tiny share of its freight by rail; a new line could mean cheaper freight and therefore lower consumer prices. The cost would be billion of dollars. Nadler’s proposal was ridiculed for years, but he persisted and got $12 million for a two-year design and environmental study of a tunnel. And in 2007, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed to spend more than $100 million in federal funds on an environmental-impact study. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has sided with neighborhood groups in Queens that object to the plan because it would increase noise.