Indian American is top legal adviser to dept of labour

Thursday 22nd July 2021 03:58 EDT

Washington: The US Senate has confirmed Indian American Seema Nanda to the US Department of Labor as the solicitor. The former chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, and deputy solicitor at the US Department of Labor in the Obama administration was confirmed to the post in a 53-to-46 vote. The Indian American was also the chief executive officer of the Democratic National Committee during the Trump administration.

Biden's nomination of Nanda irked some Republicans, who cited inflammatory tweets she had posted during her two-year stint at the DNC in saying she was too partisan to serve as the Department of Labor's top legal adviser, according to a report. At a confirmation hearing in April, Nanda apologized for the tweets and disavowed ones that said then-Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell was undermining democracy by confirming Trump-appointed judges and that Senator Susan Collins of Maine was unsympathetic to victims of sexual assault, the report said.

"Tweets can happen very quickly and sometimes they might not be exactly what we'd say if we had a little more deliberative time," Nanda said at the hearing. Biden's choice of Nanda has been praised by Democrats who have pointed to her ample government experience and track record of advocating for workers' rights.

Nanda will serve as the third in command at the DOL behind former Boston mayor Marty Walsh, who was confirmed as secretary of labor in March, and California labor secretary Julie Su, whose nomination for deputy secretary was approved by the Senate on July 12. The solicitor of labor is DOL's chief legal officer and oversees a staff of about 500 lawyers across the country. The solicitor's office files lawsuits against employers for violating various federal laws, represents DOL in appeals courts, and provides advice on policymaking, the report said.

Before joining the Obama-era DOL, Nanda led the US Department of Justice's Office of Immigrant and Employee Rights Section, served as a supervisor attorney at the National Labor Relations Board and worked as an associate in private practice in Seattle. She also was a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School's Labor and Worklife Program, her bio notes.

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