Susman Godfrey partner Arun Subramaniam has spent the last fifteen years at one of New York’s most prominent white shoe law firms. He is now poised to become the first Indian American judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Arun Subramanian graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2001 and then from Columbia Law School in 2004. After graduating, Subramanian clerked for Judge Dennis Jacobs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Judge Gerard Lynch on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Lynch, a former Columbia law professor, would later be elevated to the Second Circuit himself). Subramanian then clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court (alongside future federal judges Eric Murphy (Kennedy), Dan Bress (Scalia), and future Senator Mike Lee).
Subramanian then joined the firm of Susman Godfrey, where he still serves as a partner.
History of the Seat
Subramanian has been tapped for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to a seat vacated by Judge Alison Nathan’s elevation to the Second Circuit on March 31, 2022. He was recommended for the position by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. See Tim Balk, Chuck Touts Three Judges for Fed Courts, Daily News, June 10, 2022.
Subramanian has spent his entire legal career post-clerkship at the firm of Susman Godfrey, where he has worked primarily in commercial litigation and advisory work. Subramanian’s work also included bankruptcy cases. See, e.g., Buchwald Capital Advisors LLC v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 447 B.R. 170 (S.D.N.Y. Bankr. 2011).
Notably, Subramanian represented a class of plaintiffs suing Barclays and other banks for manipulating interest rates. See Maureen Farrell, Barclays Not Alone in Rate-Fixing Scandal, CNNMoney.com, July 3, 2012. Subramanian also represented the parents of DNC staffer Seth Rich in a suit against Fox News alleging that the network’s promotion of conspiracy theories about Rich’s death intentionally caused them emotional distress. See Rich v. Fox News Network LLC., 939 F.3d 112 (2d Cir. 2019).
In other matters, Subramanian has represented parties on the appellate level in New York state courts, see, e.g., Transparent Value, LLC v. Johnson, 93 A.3d 599 (N.Y. App. Div. 2012), and on the federal level. See, e.g., Gelboin v. Bank of Am. Corp., 823 F.3d 759 (2d 2015). Notably, Subramanian argued before the Federal Circuit, convincing the court to reverse the dismissal of a patent infringement action. See BASCOM Global Internet Servs. V. AT&T Mobility LLC, 827 F.3d 1341 (Fed. Cir. 2016).
Writings and Statements
In his role as an attorney, Subramanian has occasionally commented in the media. For example, as part of his role in the Barclays lawsuit, Subramanian was quoted in an article discussing the manipulation of interest rates by big banks. See James O’Toole, Big Banks at Center of Interest Rate Probe, CNNMoney.com, Mar. 11, 2012. See also James O’Toole, Lawsuits Against Banks Loom in Libor Scandal, CNNMoney.com, July 6, 2012.
Subramanian has been a frequent donor to Democratic party candidates for office, giving more than $58000 over the last fifteen years, including a $10000 contribution to Governor Kathy Hochul’s campaign in 2022.
With a star-studded resume and extensive experience with the commercial litigation that makes up a large part of the Southern District of New York’s docket, Subramanian makes for a qualified, if conventional, judicial nominee.
Arun Subramaniam is in the mood of the judge he would replace. A young, experienced, progressive & history making pick. Also, just like Alison Nathan, I expect to see him in heavy consideration for elevation in the future.
Another under-nomination à la Dale Ho.
I would have nominated these men to circuit courts. Subramanian’s district court nomination is not as mismatched as Dale Ho’s, however, as there weren’t vacancies on the 2nd Circuit at the time of nomination. What’s worse, after all that time, Ho is still not confirmed. What a waste of controversy—as in, the controversy of a nominee should be commensurate to the court of nomination. These are district courts nominations, so I blame Schumer. The only consolidation is that they are both nominated to the most important district court.
We’re getting close to crunch time. There’s been no shortage of hopeful predictions on here about Ho’s chances for confirmation this year. Let’s see how they hold up.
Unlike others, I don’t see Ho (or Subramanian) getting confirmed before the end of this Congress due to how controversial they are and the lack of available time with which to confirm those that the base simply has not a clue how important they could be. Subramanian is quite partisan judging from the number of and amount of donations given to Democrats in his life, which will be a easy Republican target from the entire judiciary committee. The only difference with Ho is that Subramanian hasn’t spent as much time as an advocate, which was a just criticism from the Republican aisle (even as they ignore it when they confirm their FedSoc hacks).
I agree with you on the timeline and hope to God that I’m wrong, being the huge Dale Ho booster that I am. That both nominees were recommended by the majority leader doesn’t mean much in this case. This fact would have carried more weight in a different congress or for a different leader like McConnell. Unfortunately, Schumer is undisputedly not a Mitch McConnell.
I disagree with you on his donations. Until Citizens United is overturned, money is speech. I do not begrudge Subramanian his court-created speech. As the Robert court has said, you don’t give up your constitutional rights when you work for the government or seek to. I am the least sympathetic person to the one-sided rules/standards.
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Right, it’s a double standard. I’m in favor of overturning Citizens United but clearly Republicans only like that decision when it benefits them. Dems are getting stronger with raising dark money, and if Dems have a clear dark money advantage in the future then most of the GOP will support overturning Citizens United.
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Good to see Carl Folsom appointed as a state court judge since he didn’t get the Kansas 10th circuit seat. He is young enough where he can still be considered for elevation at a later time.