At a Glance
- Career History: U.S. Representative (since 1993); Member, New York State Assembly (1977-1992); Legislative assistant, New York State Assembly (1972)
- Birthday: June 13, 1947
- Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Alma Mater: Columbia University, B.A. 1969; Fordham University School of Law, J.D. 1978.
- Spouse: Joyce Miller
- Religion: Jewish
- Committees: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, House Judiciary Committee (chairman of subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties)
- DC Office: 2334 Rayburn House Office BldgWashington DC 20515202-225-5635
- District Offices: 201 Varick Street, Suite 669New York, N.Y. 10014, 212-367-7350; 445 Neptune Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11224,718-373-3198
Path to Power
Born in 1947 in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, Nadler was introduced to politics at a young age by his father, a "dyed-in-the-wool" Democrat and poultry farmer who would rail against President Dwight Eisenhower and the nation's federal agriculture policy during the 1950s. Nadler grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household and attended yeshivas until he enrolled in Stuyvesant, one of New York City's elite public high schools.
Nadler became politically active in high school, forming a liberal club called the West Side Kids that included childhood friend Dick Morris, who would become famous as a consultant to (and later a critic of) President Bill Clinton. After turning down a full scholarship from Yale, Nadler attended Columbia University. There he organized protests against the Vietnam War and campaigned, along with Morris, for anti-war Democrat Eugene McCarthy. He avoided service in the war himself because of an asthmatic condition. After graduating Columbia in 1969, Nadler attended law school at Fordham at night and continued to work in politics. He and his friends all took on the local Democratic establishment while still in college, winning posts as district leaders soon after turning 21, then the legal voting age. Using the party position as a springboard, Nadler made his first run for the New York State Assembly in 1976. He took the seat after winning a close Democratic primary by just 73 votes.
Nadler has one of the House's most liberal voting records , earning perfect ratings from labor and environmental groups as well as the American Civil Liberties Union. He is a strong supporter of abortion rights and same-sex marriage, and he has opposed private accounts for Social Security. And while he backed Clinton during his impeachment trial, Nadler opposed some key items of Clinton's legislative agenda during the 1990s, including the 1996 welfare reform bill and the North American Free Trade Agreement.Nadler has also been a longtime supporter of the National Endowment for the Arts, fighting attempts by conservatives to reduce the agency's funding in the 1990s.
Nadler has worked closely with other members of New York's congressional delegation, including Sen. Charles Schumer (D) and fellow Manhattan lawmaker, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D). He also works closely with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.).
On the national stage, he has occasionally bucked the party establishment. In 2000, he backed former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley (D) over front-runner Al Gore for the Democratic presidential nomination, and in 2004 he endorsed former Vermont governor Howard Dean (D). In 2008, he joined virtually the entire state Democratic Party leadership in supporting home state Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) for the White House.