CARSON CITY — Nevada’s two U.S. senators are in a standoff over the nomination of a state judge to the federal bench, with neither side showing signs of flinching.
Sen. Dean Heller met with Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish and issued a statement Friday reiterating his concern over her answer on a 2008 questionnaire from Citizens for Responsible Government that she returned while running for state judge.
Asked about the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms, she wrote, “I do not believe that there is this constitutional right.”
Heller, a Republican, said he respects Cadish and believe she has had many accomplishments in her career. Still, he said he could not support her nomination as a federal judge.
“I believe an individual citizen has the constitutional right to keep and bear arms and cannot in good conscience support a nominee whose commitment to the Constitution’s Second Amendment is in doubt,” Heller said.
Without Heller’s nod, Cadish will not receive a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, leaving her nomination in limbo.
Cadish was recommended by Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, and nominated by President Barack Obama.
Reid isn’t budging on his support.
“Judge Cadish is exceptionally qualified to serve on Nevada’s federal bench, and I strongly stand by her nomination,” Reid said. “The unprecedented refusal to allow Judge Cadish a hearing to answer questions and explain her views is not fair to Nevadans who deserve to hear what she has to say.”
Reid tapped Cadish to replace Judge Philip Pro, who was nominated by President Reagan.
When Heller stalled her nomination process earlier this year, Reid asked Cadish for an explanation of her answer.
“I want to assure you that I was not giving my personal opinion on this question,” she wrote, “Rather, this response was based on my understanding of the state of federal law at the time.”
The U.S. Supreme Court, in decisions handed down later in 2008 and in 2010, has since ruled that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to keep firearms.