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August 28, 2016

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Reid to try end run around Heller on judicial nominee Cadish

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Steve Marcus

Sen. Dean Heller, left, (R-NV) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) chat during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City Monday, May 30, 2011.

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

WASHINGTON — Sen. Harry Reid said Wednesday that he plans to ask Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy to consider making an exception to the Senate’s usual process and move Elissa Cadish’s judicial nomination to the Nevada federal bench ahead over Sen. Dean Heller’s objections.

But he didn’t sound that optimistic that anything would come of it.

“I am going to visit with Pat and go over it,” Reid said. “But I don’t think he will do it.”

Leahy is a proponent of the Senate tradition when it comes to judicial nominations: Though it isn’t inscribed in stone anywhere, you don’t move a judicial nominee through confirmation hearings unless both senators from the home state give their OK, which they do by signing a blue slip on which they’ve checked one of two options: “I approve” or “I disapprove” of the nominee.

Heller has opposed Cadish’s nomination because of opinions she expressed about the Second Amendment. Cadish wrote in a letter submitted as part of the vetting process that she did not believe the Second Amendment gave every American the right to bear arms — just weeks before the Supreme Court ruled in the ironically named Heller decision that, yes, it very much does.

Cadish has since said that she would uphold the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, and appealed to Heller to change his mind in a meeting in Las Vegas last week. Heller said in a statement after the meeting that he “cannot in good conscience support a nominee whose commitment to the Constitution’s Second Amendment is in doubt.”

Reid, however, has stuck by his nominee.

“There’s yet to be anyone that I’ve heard that doesn’t think she’s qualified,” he said Wednesday.

Reid declined to say how, if Leahy declined to act on Cadish’s nomination, he planned to proceed, or whether or when he would move on to another candidate.

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