64°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Yearlong federal judge courtship ends for Cadish

WASHINGTON — Elissa Cadish, a Clark County judge whose promotion to the federal bench hit an impasse over gun rights, has withdrawn from consideration to become a district judge in Nevada.

“It is with regret that I write to inform you that I have requested that President Obama withdraw my nomination to this position at this time,” Cadish said in a letter sent Thursday to Nevada’s senators and made public on Friday.

Cadish’s nomination had been tied up for more than a year after she was nominated by President Barack Obama in February 2012. She said the delay in her case, with two other vacancies in the seven-judge Nevada district, was affecting justice.

Moreover, as an elected judge in Clark County District Court, Cadish, 48, said she needed soon to start forming her campaign for re-election in 2014, which would have been impossible under conduct code if her nomination to a federal post remained pending.

The situation “has severely impacted the ability of Nevadans to get speedy justice, particularly in civil cases,” Cadish said. “Additionally it has put a weighty burden on the four sitting district judges as well as the senior judges who graciously continue to serve the court.”

“By withdrawing my nomination I am hopeful that there will be a speedy nomination and confirmation process for a new candidate in order to get that court up to its full complement of judges to the benefit of all citizens of Nevada,” Cadish said in the letter to Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Cadish declined to comment further, according to her courthouse secretary in Las Vegas.

The Cadish nomination was a sore spot between Reid, who had promoted her nomination, and Heller, who blocked her consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee after questions were raised last year about her views on gun rights.

Reid said last month he and Heller were trying to work out a solution on Cadish. The senators and their representatives were tight-lipped on Friday, and it was unclear whether Cadish’s withdrawal was the result of an agreement between them, or signaled anything about how other judicial nominations will be handled.

“Elissa Cadish is one of the most highly respected jurists in Nevada,” Reid said in a statement. “I continue to have deep admiration for her and appreciate her patience and grace in this process. I am disappointed in this outcome. However, I agree with Judge Cadish that with three vacancies on our district court, Nevada is in an urgent situation and continuing this impasse is not beneficial to our citizens who warrant a speedy judicial process.”

“While I agree with the withdrawal of this nomination, this has been an unfortunate situation from the very beginning and I wish Judge Cadish well in her future endeavors,” Heller said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Senator Reid so that we can avoid similar situations and move swiftly to confirm future nominees.”

Cadish, a Clark County judge since 2007, was well-regarded locally, with
88 percent of lawyers responding to a 2011 evaluation saying she should be retained. The American Bar Association rated her “unanimously qualified” for a federal judgeship.

But her nomination came off the rails a month after she was nominated. Republicans discovered a questionnaire she filled out in May 2008 for a Las Vegas conservative citizens group in which she said she believed “reasonable restrictions may be imposed on gun ownership in the interest of public safety.”

Asked by the group whether she believed individuals have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, Cadish wrote: “I do not believe that there is this constitutional right.” She added: “Of course, I will enforce the laws as they exist as a judge.”

Cadish moved to clarify her comments, saying she was not speaking for herself but reflected the unsettled law on gun rights before the Supreme Court issued rulings on the Second Amendment that made clear an individual’s right to gun ownership.

Heller blocked her confirmation, saying at the time, “The bottom line is that she filled out a questionnaire that says she doesn’t believe the right to bear arms is a constitutional right for an individual. I just disagree with that.”

Heller’s move was applauded by the National Rifle Association, which said Cadish’s position “was of little comfort to gun owners.”

The issue continues to resonate among conservatives. Last month, the Republican audience at a Lincoln Day Dinner in Pahrump applauded when Heller told them he was continuing to block Cadish.

“There is a judge in Las Vegas who I will not release because she said in her statement she doesn’t believe the Second Amendment guarantees a person a right to bear arms,” Heller said, according to a transcript of his speech. “And I haven’t released that nomination at this point. So your Second Amendment is as important to me as it is to you.”

People for the American Way, the liberal interest group, on Friday accused Republicans and “the gun lobby” of keeping Cadish off the federal bench.

Marge Baker, the group’s executive vice president, associated Cadish with Caitlin Halligan, a New York lawyer whom Republican senators blocked this week from a judgeship on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

“Senate Republicans and the gun lobby have worked hand in hand to keep these two exceptionally qualified women off the federal bench,” Baker said. “Neither Cadish nor Halligan has displayed character or ethics problems let alone any sort of extreme ideology like that they were accused of. Yet Halligan was never allowed an up-or-down vote from the Senate, and Cadish never even had the opportunity to answer senators’ questions on her record before the Judiciary Committee.”

When Heller was elected in November and made clear he was not going to change his mind, the writing was on the wall for Cadish, according to Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond and a former UNLV professor who still follows Nevada matters.

“As long as Heller wasn’t going to (agree), it couldn’t happen, and so I think she was gracious by choosing now to withdraw because the percentages just weren’t there,” Tobias said. “She needs to move on too if she’s going to campaign. There just didn’t seem to be a path.”

In the meantime, the impasse over Cadish, with other vacancies, caused concern about the Nevada District Court.

In March 2012, two vacancies on the federal bench were declared “judicial emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts based on the district’s caseload.

The designation was removed later in the year when the number of weighted filings dropped below what was considered emergency levels.

Still, Nevada ranks 31 among 94 judicial districts measured by weighted filings, which the government uses to determine workload, and 20th for pending cases per judgeship.

Help is on the way. The Senate is expected Monday to confirm Andrew Patrick Gordon, a partner at the McDonald, Carano and Wilson LLP in Las Vegas, to a Nevada judgeship.

A third Obama nominee, Las Vegas attorney Jennifer Dorsey of Kemp, Jones & Coulthard LLP, remains up in the air as Heller has not given permission for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a confirmation hearing on her. Aides say he continues to study her.

Dorsey and Gordon were nominated on the same day, Sept. 19. While Gordon’s confirmation is all but complete, Heller has not indicated what if anything has caused a protracted review of Dorsey’s credentials or whether he has spotted a problem with her nomination.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
CCSD police on the arrest of Deamonte Warren - VIDEO
CCSD police arrested Chaparral High School custodian Deamonte Warren on Friday on three counts of a school employee having sex with a student and an additional count of providing alcohol to a minor. (Courtesy CCSD Police)
Woman charged with sex trafficking an 11-year-old girl on the Strip (Michael Quine)
Gigi Mitchell faces seven felony charges including sex trafficking and child abuse for bringing an 11-year-old girl to the Las Vegas Strip to work as a prostitute.
Bel Air Drive Officer Involved Shooting Presser - Video
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly goes over the officer-involved shooting on Bel Air Drive.
Former Las Vegas police officer get 25 life sentences for sexually abusing child
Former Las Vegas Police officer Bret Theil was sentences to 25 consecutive life sentences at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, May 15, 2019, for sexually abusing a child over a decade. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Man pushed off bus in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Las Vegas police arrested 25-year-old Cadesha Bishop on May 6, after she allegedly pushed Serge Fournier, 74, off of a parked bus near Fremont Street and 13th Street about 4:50 p.m. March 21.(Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
$1 million bail set for mother charged with drowning 2-year-old daughter
The 44-year-old mother who police say drowned her 2-year-old daughter in a bathtub in a northeast Las Vegas apartment on Saturday made her first court appearance on Tuesday, May 14th.
Officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child appears in court
Matthew James Terry, a Las Vegas police officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child, appears in court Monday morning, May 13, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seek hit-and-run driver
A motorcycle officer pulled over a Mercedes SUV, and after the officer came to a stop, it shifted into reverse, intentionally hitting the officer.
Thedrick Andres becomes Henderson Police Department acting chief
Henderson Police Department Acting Chief Thedrick Andres speaks about his goals in his new position at the Henderson Police headquarters, Monday, April 29, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2 dead, 1 wounded after east valley neighborhood shooting
One man and one woman are dead and another man wounded after a shooting Thursday afternoon in an east valley neighborhood.
Bail denied for former police detective charged with murder
Bail was denied Tuesday for former Metropolitan Police Department detective, Pamela Rene Bordeaux who is accused of fatally shooting her daughter’s ex-husband during supervised visitation with his child.
Third suspect in death of California doctor appears in court
The third and final suspect in the killing of a California doctor, Jon Kennison, 27, appears in court Friday, April 19, 2019. Kennison, Kelsey Nichole Turner, a former model, and Diana Pena, face charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Richard Cleaves of Pahrump arrested in burglary on former Binion property
Updated press release regarding burglary on a former Binion property: Richard Cleaves, 56 of Pahrump, has been arrested on a warrant for burglary, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, and destruction of property. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Judge denies bail for suspect charged in the killing of California doctor
Diana Pena, one of three people charged in the killing of a California doctor, is being held without bail after her fingerprints were found on the car where Dr. Thomas Burchard's body was discovered.
Ex-NFL player and girlfriend held without bail in child’s death
Former professional football player Cierre Wood and his girlfriend, Amy Taylor, face charges of murder and child abuse in the death of Taylor's 5-year-old daughter. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP identifies man who was shot by trooper on Mount Charleston
Nevada Highway Patrol updates the media on the April 2, 2019 officer involved shooting on Mount Charleston. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas court grants '90 Day Fiancé' defendant continuance
"90 Day Fiance" stars Colt Johnson and his mother Debra left the Las Vegas Justice Center Thursday, after the court granted Larissa dos Santos Lima a continuance in her misdemeanor case, in which she is accused of domestic violence against Colt. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Details released on in-custody death
Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank addresses media about details of an in-custody death at Clark County Detention Center on March 31. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man hurt in shooting with Nevada troopers at Mount Charleston
A man was injured in a shooting involving Nevada Highway Patrol troopers Tuesday afternoon at Mount Charleston on state Route 157 near Echo Trail. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officer wounds inmate during escape attempt
An officer fired on an inmate who stole a vehicle and tried to flee, ramming several cars and leading officers on a chase until he ran out of gas.
Man fatally shot during a 'beer skip'
A store clerk is being questioned after a man was fatally shot during a robbery at a gas station Friday. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Las Vegas police give details on fatal shooting
Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer gives a briefing on a fatal shooting near downtown Las Vegas that occurred on March 27, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas community pays tribute to boy killed by car
The community joined friends and family at Wilbur & Theresa Faiss Park, Wednesday evening, to remember the boy who was struck and killed by a car crossing South Fort Apache Road from Faiss Park, near West Maule Avenue, on Monday. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Person of Interest Found For Downtown Las Vegas Bar - Video
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is seeking help to find a person of interest in a potential homicide case at a bar in downtown Las Vegas.
Metro briefs media on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Police address media about officer-involved shooting that started on Maryland and Vegas Valley, and concluded downtown, near the Golden Nugget.
Update on OIS at Vegas Valley and Maryland
The incident began at the Steinberg Diagnostic Medical parking lot and ended downtown.
Amy And Spencer Powell Recount Hit And Run
Amy Powell and her son Spencer recount the day Spencer was hit by a truck while riding his bike. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah arrested in Amarillo, TX
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah was arrested in Amarillo, TX on a Nye County warrant for open murder, burglary, obtaining money under false pretense, use of credit card w/o owner consent, and destruction of evidence. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
Metro Presser For OIS 6 (Full)
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Metro Presser For OIS 6
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Domestic disturbance call ends in suicide
A man died by suicide after police tried negotiating with him outside of his ex-girlfriend’s home on March 13. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by Las Vegas police
A 20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by a Las Vegas officer on Saturday night is also accused of burglarizing a Boys & Girls Club minutes before the shooting.
Commercial Robbery On 3000 Block Of North Las Vegas Blvd - VIDEO
On February 19th, 2019, at approximately 10:23 am, a robbery occurred to a business located on the 3000 block of North Las Vegas Boulevard. The pictured suspect entered the business, approached the counter and pointed a firearm at the victim demanding money. The victim complied and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported.
THE LATEST