Catherine Cortez Masto

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Catherine Cortez Masto
Catherine Cortez Masto.jpg
32nd Attorney General of Nevada
In office
January 1, 2007 – January 5, 2015
Governor Jim Gibbons
Brian Sandoval
Preceded by George Chanos
Succeeded by Adam Laxalt
Personal details
Born Catherine Marie Cortez
1964 (age 50–51)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Paul Masto
Residence Reno, Nevada, U.S.
Alma mater Gonzaga University School of Law (J.D.)
University of Nevada, Reno (B.S.)
Website Official website

Catherine Marie Cortez Masto (born 1964) is an American attorney and politician. She is a candidate for the United States Senate election in Nevada, 2016.[1] She was the Attorney General of Nevada from 2007 to 2015, elected to replace George Chanos. She is a member of the Democratic Party. Cortez Masto was not eligible to run for a third term in 2014 due to lifetime term limits established by the Nevada Constitution.

Education and law career[edit]

Cortez Masto earned a Bachelor of Science from University of Nevada, Reno in 1986, and a J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1990.[2]

She was admitted to the State Bar of Nevada in 1990, the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada in 1991 and the U.S. Court of Appeals, for the Ninth Circuit in 1994.[3] She is married to Paul Masto, a former Special Agent in the United States Secret Service.

Her career includes four years as a civil attorney in Las Vegas and two years as a criminal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C.[3]

Nevada Attorney General[edit]

As Attorney General, Cortez Masto investigated Bank of America's practice of raising interest rates on troubled borrowers. Her office sought to end Nevada's participation in a loan modification settlement in order to sue the bank over deceptive marketing and lending practices.[4]

Cortez Masto defended the state of Nevada in the lawsuit Sevcik v. Sandoval regarding gay rights in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. After the 9th Circuit determined it was unconstitutional to prevent someone from participating in the fundamental purposes of government (for example serving as a juror) because of sexual orientation, Cortez Masto announced she was reconsidering the brief. She later withdrew her defense of the ban of same sex marriage, stating it was no longer defensible.[5]

Political future[edit]

In 2014, Cortez Masto was named executive vice chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education.[6]

Cortez Masto declined to run for Governor of Nevada in the 2014 election.[7] When U.S. Senator Harry Reid decided not to run for reelection in the 2016 election, he immediately endorsed Cortez Masto as his successor.[8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Gonzaga University School of Law  » Alumni Profile: Catherine Cortez Masto". Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "About Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada's Attorney General". Retrieved March 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ Morgenson, Gretchen (August 30, 2011). "Nevada Says Bank Broke Mortgage Settlement". The New York Times. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ STEVE SEBELIUS LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. "It’s the Slash Politics Week in Review!". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  6. ^ FRANCIS McCABE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. "Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto named to higher ed post". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  7. ^ Doughman, Andrew (September 19, 2013). "Cortez Masto: I’m not running for governor". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Senate's Harry Reid announces he won't seek re-election". March 27, 2015. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
George Chanos
Attorney General of Nevada
January 1, 2007 – January 5, 2015
Succeeded by
Adam Laxalt