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Cortez Masto: Togliatti judicial nomination looking good

WASHINGTON — A Nevada senator predicted smooth sailing Thursday for a White House judicial nomination to fill an “emergency vacancy” in the state that the chief federal district judge said was critical to addressing the backlog of cases.

President Donald Trump nominated senior Nevada Judge Jennifer Togliatti this week to fill one of two vacancies on the federal bench in Nevada, which consists of seven seats.

“Thank you, Mr. President, may we have another,” Chief District Judge Gloria Navarro of Las Vegas told the Review-Journal following the White House announcement to fill the vacancy and address a growing caseload and backlog.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Sen. Jacky Rosen, both Nevada Democrats, recommended candidates that included Togliatti to the White House for the nomination.

Cortez Masto said she would review the nomination thoroughly, and meet officially with Togliatti before her Senate confirmation hearing. But Cortez Masto said she was pleased with the president’s pick and could not foresee anything that would hold up the nomination.

“It’s important for us to be able to have our benches completely filled with competent judges who are moving those cases in a timely manner. I think it’s important that that happened,” Cortez Masto said.

Cortez Masto said Togliatti was nominated to fill a seat that has been vacant for more than three years, when Judge Robert Clive Jones of Las Vegas took senior status in 2016. The Administrative Office of U.S. Courts declared the vacancy an emergency.

Another vacancy was created in June when Judge James Mahan of Reno took senior status.

Navarro, citing the backlog of cases in federal courts in Nevada, said she was hopeful the other vacancy would be filled soon.

The senators are expected to seek applications for the Reno vacancy soon. Those candidates would be vetted by a bipartisan commission formed by the lawmakers to choose people with qualifications that the senators can recommend to the White House for nomination.

Togliatti serves as a senior judge on the state district court and as a private mediator and arbitrator for complex civil litigation cases and mass torts, according to the White House.

She served as chief judge on Nevada’s Eighth Judicial District Court from 2011 to 2014. Before joining the state district court, Togliatti served as Las Vegas Justice Court judge. She is also a former deputy district attorney for Clark County.

Togliatti earned a bachelor’s degree from UNLV and a law degree from California Western School of Law.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-622-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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