A Reno lawyer will become the first Asian-American to serve on the federal bench in Nevada, continuing a life’s journey that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said proved the “American dream is alive and well.”
The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Miranda Du, who was recommended by Reid, D-Nev., and nominated by President Barack Obama.
Du’s confirmation received bipartisan support, but Reid’s recommendation to appoint Clark County District Court Judge Elissa Cadish to another vacancy appeared in doubt because of opposition from Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller.
Du was 9 when she left Vietnam with her family in 1978. They traveled by boat to Malaysia, where the family lived for a year in refugee camps before coming to the United States.
The family first lived in Alabama, where her father worked on a dairy farm. They later moved to California.
“She didn’t speak English when she enrolled in an American school for the first time. But even as a third-grader, she was quick to learn and picked up the language right away,” Reid said on the Senate floor.
Du received a bachelor’s degree in history and economics from the University of California, Davis, and her law degree from UC Berkley. She moved to Nevada shortly after and joined the law firm of McDonald Carano Wilson, where she was made partner in 2002.
Regarding the nomination of Cadish, Reid told The Associated Press he was “kind of stunned” when Heller’s office informed him he would not support her appointment. Without Heller’s endorsement, the nomination will not be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Reid said Cadish, a state judge since 2007, “is not out of sight or out of mind,” suggesting Reid may try to persuade Heller to endorse her or recommend her for a future opening on the Nevada bench.
Heller spokesman Stewart Bybee would not explain Heller’s opposition to Cadish.
“Sen. Heller looks forward to supporting the confirmation of Miranda Du to be U.S. District judge for the District of Nevada,” Bybee said in a statement. “In addition, Sen. Heller will continue to work with Sen. Reid to fill any judicial vacancies in the state of Nevada.”