Tanya Chutkan would probably have been last on the list of judges that former president Donald Trump would have wanted to preside over his trial for conspiring to subvert American democracy. Why? Chutkan, a judge with extensive criminal trial experience, ruled against Trump’s attempt to deny the committee investigating the January 6th insurrection access to White House documents. Further, she has handed down harsh sentences to individuals found guilty of participating in the insurrection. 

Tanya Chutkan was born in Jamaica; she is black and Asian

Tanya Chutkan was born on 5th July 1962 in Kingston, Jamaica. She is black and Asian. 

Chutkan grew up dreaming of becoming a dancer. However, her aspirations changed after moving to the United States to study at George Washington University. She pursued law, earning her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Before president Obama appointed her as a federal judge, she worked as a public defender and in private practice. 

During African American History Month, Chutkan delivered a talk for the Judiciary’s Defender Services Office to members of the legal community about standing tall against racially-inspired criticism. “For a lot of people, I seem to check a lot of boxes: immigrant, woman, Black, Asian,” Chutkan said. “Your qualifications are always going to be subject to criticism and you have to develop a thick skin.”

Chutkan has already faced racial attacks for her handling of January 6th cases. She’ll likely receive more abuse as she handles a trial against a defendant with a history of attacking women, minority, and immigrant judges and prosecutors: he described three black prosecutors – Alvin L. Bragg, Letitia James, and Fani T. Willis – as racists.

Chutkan’s rhetoric against Trump and January 6th convicts suggests that the former president won’t have it easy in court. “Presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president,” she said in a ruling against Trump. “The country is watching to see what the consequences are,” she said while sentencing a rioter. “There have to be consequences.”