Andrew Gordon ’84 Appointed to Federal Bench

Sen. Harry Reid had a simple question for him: 'Are you interested in becoming a judge?'

Andy-Gordon1After a long confirmation process, Andrew Patrick Gordon, 84’, has been appointed judge in the United States District Court for Nevada.

The journey to his confirmation began in the summer of 2012 when Gordon, a partner in the Las Vegas law firm of McDonald Carano Wilson LLP, was called by Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

“(Reid asked) ‘Are you interested in becoming a judge?’” said Gordon. “I talked about it with my wife and we decided the answer was ‘yes’.”

Senator Reid then forwarded Gordon’s name to the White House, which is responsible for nominating Federal judges. President Barack Obama nominated Gordon to fill the vacant U.S. District court seat in September of 2012. The Senate Judiciary Committee reviewed Gordon’s credentials and held a hearing that fall, where Gordon answered questions. Gordon’s past as a student at CMC was referenced several times during the confirmation hearing. Senator Reid called CMC “the Harvard of the West.” While Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked about Gordon’s senior thesis on discrimination in prostitution laws.

The nomination was nearly derailed because the Senate recessed before the Presidential election. President Obama then had to re-nominate Gordon after his re-election. The committee reported him favorably leading to confirmation by a voice-vote of the full Senate on March 11.

“The process required a lot of patience,” said Gordon. “Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee was intimidating from a personal standpoint, but fascinating for a political science major,” said Gordon. “It was surreal to be a part of something I read about and not as intimidating as I feared.”

Senator Reid issued this statement after his confirmation: “Andrew Gordon has consistently been recognized as one of the best attorneys in the nation, and I have no doubt he will serve as a judge with integrity and fairness.  As a talented and well-respected member of Nevada’s legal community, he will be an excellent addition to the federal bench.”

The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. Cases from the District of Nevada are appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

Gordon received his J.D. in 1987 from Harvard Law School and his B.A. cum laude in political science in 1984 from Claremont McKenna College. He worked at the law firm of Streich Lang Weeks & Cardon in Phoenix, Ariz., from 1987 to 1992, and with the law firm of Dawson & Associates in Las Vegas from 1992 to 1994. He joined the law firm of McDonald Carano Wilson LLP in 1994 as an associate and became a partner in 1997. His legal career has centered on civil litigation and mediation with an emphasis on complex commercial negotiations.

After a long career as an attorney, Gordon remarked on the biggest adjustment to his new role. “I worked in a law firm for over twenty years representing clients and now my client is justice… The responsibility is rewarding, to have the opportunity to help resolve disputes, to give finality to something. I know I did something today that made a difference.”