Obama nominates two Las Vegas lawyers to Nevada federal bench

President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated two Las Vegas lawyers to the Nevada federal bench.

Jennifer Dorsey, a partner at Kemp, Jones & Coulthard, has been selected to fill the seat of U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson, who took senior status in July.

Andrew Gordon, a partner at McDonald Carano Wilson, has been nominated to replace U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks, who is taking senior status at the end of the year.

Senior judges may carry a reduced caseload. Dawson is based in Las Vegas and Hicks in Reno.

"I am honored to put forward these highly qualified candidates for the federal bench," Obama said in a statement. "They will be distinguished public servants and valuable additions to the United States District Court."

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., added:

"I am confident that Jennifer Dorsey and Andy Gordon will serve on the bench with distinction. I am personally impressed with their dedication to their state, their communities, and the legal profession.

"Each of them has extensive litigation experience, and their peers and colleagues in Nevada have come to respect these individuals as fair and thoughtful legal minds. I look forward to their swift confirmation."

Both lawyers must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The nominations come as Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish's bid to fill another vacancy on the federal bench remains on hold.

At Reid's recommendation, Obama nominated Cadish in February to succeed U.S. District Judge Philip Pro, a Las Vegas-based judge who took senior status at the end of 2011. But Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., blocked Cadish's nomination after questions were raised about her position on gun rights. Reid and Heller have been unable to resolve their differences over Cadish.

Dorsey and Gordon primarily have practiced civil law during their careers.

Dorsey, who declined comment, has been a member of Kemp, Jones & Coulthard since 1997 and a partner since 2004, specializing in appeals, class actions and complex commercial litigation. She is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Pepperdine University School of Law

A former congressional intern for now-retired U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., Dorsey has served on the Nevada Supreme Court's Committee on Professionalism and is a member of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association.

Gordon joined McDonald Carano Wilson in 1994 and became a partner in 1997. He specializes in commercial litigation, including business and employment disputes, construction and real estate disputes, shareholder actions and securities claims. He is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College and Harvard Law School.

Gordon, who could not be reached for comment, also has served as a private mediator and arbitrator.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135.