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Biden nominates Frierson to be next Nevada US attorney

Updated November 12, 2021 - 5:11 pm

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden nominated Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson on Friday to be the next U.S. attorney for the state.

Frierson, who has served as speaker since the 2017 session, will replace Nick Trutanich, who served as top federal prosecutor for the Nevada district for two years. He left the post in February.

Democratic U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen submitted Frierson’s name to the White House for consideration.

“Jason Frierson is a Nevada trailblazer who has served his state exceptionally well, and I’m confident he will continue to do so as our next U.S. Attorney,” Cortez Masto said in a statement.

Rosen, in a statement, said: “I know he will lead with integrity and a deep commitment to the rule of law as the top federal prosecutor for our state.”

Frierson was one of eight nominees announced by the White House in a statement that said people selected “will be indispensable to upholding the rule of law.”

The nomination now goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee. If the committee approves, the nomination will then go to the full Senate for a vote on confirmation.

Springboard to higher office

Serving as a U.S. attorney is considered a plum appointment, a high profile position doing the public’s work and springboard to higher statewide or congressional office, said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond School of Law professor and founding faculty member of the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV.

“You are always in front of the camera and microphone,” Tobias said.

Tobias said Frierson was very active at Boyd when it was starting, and politically active in Las Vegas.

“I am certain that he has a broad network of support through UNLV and his political work for two decades in Southern Nevada,” Tobias said.

In addition to Frierson, Biden nominated seven other people for U.S. attorney posts in Michigan, Louisiana, Ohio, Georgia and Minnesota. Unlike Nevada, some states have more than one district, and thus multiple U.S. attorneys.

News of Frierson’s nomination surfaced in October. He declined to comment at the time, saying only “I’m focused on leading my caucus.” Frierson is currently presiding over the Assembly in a special session of the Legislature called to pass new political maps for Nevada.

Frierson, a Las Vegas Democrat, graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno and earned his law degree from the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV. He’s worked in the Nevada attorney general’s office and for the Clark County district attorney, and currently is a lawyer in the public defender’s office.

Frierson was first elected to the Assembly in 2010 and served for two terms before being defeated for re-election in the “red tide” of 2014. He returned to representing his southwest Las Vegas district in 2016 and has served three additional terms. He’s served as speaker since the 2017 session.

Fellow Democrats praise choice

After the news broke Friday, several prominent officials weighed in to congratulate Frierson, including state Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and Gov. Steve Sisolak.

“Jason has the experience and leadership necessary for the role and I look forward to the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate confirming his nomination,” Sisolak wrote on Twitter.

The nomination follows the president’s selection earlier this month of two Nevada women to serve as federal judges for open seats on the federal bench in Nevada, jobs that are considered judicial emergencies by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Biden nominated UNLV law professor Anne Traum to serve in a northern Nevada seat vacated in 2016 when Judge Robert Clive Jones took senior status. Clark County District Court Judge Cristina Silva would fill a seat open since 2018 when Judge James Mahan took senior status.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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