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July 26, 2014

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Cadish pulls out of contention to become federal judge

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Judge Elissa Cadish questions attorneys after a grand jury indicted Dr. Dipak Desai Friday, June 4, 2010.

Updated Friday, March 8, 2013 | 8:54 a.m.

After more than a year of an ongoing standoff over her nomination to the federal bench in Nevada, Elissa Cadish withdrew her candidacy Friday morning.

“It is with regret that I write to inform you that I have requested that President Obama withdraw my nomination to this position,” Cadish wrote in a letter to Sen. Harry Reid, who had championed her candidacy but failed to pull Nevada Sen. Dean Heller on board.

Heller had objected to an opinion Cadish wrote about the individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, several weeks before the Supreme Court settled the proper interpretation of its clauses in District of Columbia vs. Heller in 2008. In response to inquiries, Cadish said she would uphold the Supreme Court’s interpretation as a federal judge.

Since President Barack Obama nominated Cadish in February 2012, the number of vacancies has grown, such that three of Nevada’s seven seats on the federal bench are open.

Cadish cited a concern about that situation in her letter of withdrawal, saying it “has severely impacted the ability of Nevadans to get speedy justice, particularly in civil cases.”

The Sun wrote about the protracted judicial crisis in the state last month, just after Cadish passed her one-year anniversary of being nominated without having had a hearing in the Senate Judiciary committee.

That process was held up because Heller, citing his concern over Cadish’s previous Second Amendment position, would not sign the requisite “blue slip” needed to move Cadish’s nomination forward through the Senate process.

Heller said in a statement he supported Cadish's decision to withdraw.

"This has been an unfortunate situation from the very beginning, and I wish Judge Cadish well in her future endeavors," Heller said. "I look forward to working with Senator Reid so that we can avoid similar situations and move swiftly to confirm future nominees."

In a statement, Reid spoke of his continued admiration for Cadish’s jurisprudential record, and expressed his frustration that the circumstances surrounding her nomination had reached such an impasse.

“I am disappointed in this outcome,” Reid said. “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.”

Reid added that he hoped he and Heller could move together to confirm other qualified nominees in the future.

Nevada currently has two other nominees pending before the Senate: Andrew Patrick Gordon, who is expected to receive a confirmation vote soon, and Jennifer A. Dorsey.

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