One of the hot topics in Nevada politics stems from the desire of Sen. Harry Reid and President Barack Obama to nominate Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish (all three Democrats) to the federal bench. Sen. Dean Heller (a Republican) has blocked her nomination on the grounds that in 2008 Cadish wrote that she did "not believe that there is a constitutional right" for Americans to bear arms. Now that her nomination advancement has been blocked, Cadish clarified her statement saying she was, as reported by the Review-Journal, "not giving a personal view, but rather a view of what was considered an unsettled legal question at the time."
Reid and Heller have their backs up on this and I suspect this blog is not going to make a difference one way of the other. But I do have some things to say:
First, Heller not only has every right, he has an obligation to question nominees from his own state, particularly those who have said something like Cadish did on the 2nd Amendment. We don’t want federal judges on the bench who don’t support the basic concept of the right to bear arms.
Second, I don’t know Cadish. But if she clerked for Federal District Court Judge Phillip Pro and if he endorses her strongly as is reported, then you can take it to the bank that she’s damn good judge material. Aside from one little ruling involving the degree of protection editorial content ought to receive from copyright law (conflict alert: It involved one of my unbelievably stellar and oh-so-insightful columns) Phil Pro is a practically perfect judge.
Third, Heller has not met personally with Cadish to tell her face-to-face why he’s not going to let her nomination advance. He ought to do that right now. He should not wait for her to call him. He should meet her and give it to her straight. All Nevadans are owed that dignity. If she should convince him that he ought to reconsider, then fine. If she can’t explain to Heller’s satisfaction, then that’s fine, too. Cadish won’t be the first qualified judge who’s been tripped up by an unwise past statement or an over-the-hedge view of the Constitution.
Fourth, and finally, my instincts tell me in this case Reid has identified a reasonably well-qualified Nevadan (and I certainly can’t say that about all of Reid’s nominees). Out of basic fairness, if she can come clean on the second amendment she ought to at least get a hearing.
Now I’ve probably pissed off both sides on this. Good. I can live with that.