Supreme Court of Nevada
|Supreme Court of Nevada|
|Country||Nevada , United States|
|Location||Carson City, Nevada|
|Authorized by||Nevada State Constitution|
|Decisions are appealed to||Supreme Court of the United States|
|Number of positions||7|
There are seven Justices of the court, who are elected to six-year terms in officially nonpartisan elections. The Governor appoints Justices in the case of a vacancy. The most senior justice becomes Chief Justice for a two-year term.
When Nevada established its statehood in 1864, three justices were elected to the Supreme Court for a term of 6 years. This was increased to five justices in 1967 and to seven justices in 1997.
Despite a tremendous population boom in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, Nevada has never established an intermediate appellate court like the vast majority of U.S. states. Numerous attempts have failed due to a powerful cultural tradition among Nevada residents of keeping the state government and their tax burden as small as possible. The result has been extremely severe congestion at the appellate level, as all appeals must be processed through the state supreme court. The alternative would be to have no right to appeal, since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that appeal is not a constitutional right, which is the case today in Virginia, West Virginia, and New Hampshire. However, Nevada has guaranteed its residents a right to appeal since statehood, thus resulting in the present crisis. From the 1980s to the present, Nevada state supreme court justices have been burdened with the highest per-justice caseloads of any state supreme court in the United States.
In January 1999, to bring its soaring backlog under control, the Supreme Court of Nevada adopted for the first time a measure that was frequently used by the Supreme Court of California prior to the creation of the California Courts of Appeal in 1904 (and for a few years afterward). The Court divided itself into two three-justice panels which rotate membership every 12 months. The majority of cases are now heard and decided by the three-justice panels. The advantage of this system, of course, is that it is faster to negotiate a consensus on the key points of a majority opinion among three instead of seven justices. The disadvantages are that the two panels might inadvertently issue conflicting majority opinions; and that an appellant might be ruled against by two justices on a panel of three, who might have been a minority (that is, 5–2) if the case had been heard by a full court of seven justices.
This system has persisted since 1999 to the present, while the Court continues to lobby the people and the legislature of the state of Nevada to create an intermediate appellate court. The Legislature eventually authorized the latest attempt to appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot. However, Question 2 was narrowly rejected by 53% of the 670,126 votes cast, meaning that the Court's ongoing caseload crisis will continue for the foreseeable future.
 Present justices
|Name||Elected/Appointed||Term expires||Appointing Governor|
|Michael Douglas||2004||2018||Governor Kenny Guinn|
 See also
- See Nevada Supreme Court History at official court Web site.
- Smith v. Robbins, 528 U.S. 259, 270 n.5 (2000) ("[t]he Constitution does not . . . require states to create appellate review in the first place"); M.L.B. v. S.L.J., 519 U.S. 102, 110 (1996) ("the Federal Constitution guarantees no right to appellate review").
 Further reading
- Nevada. (2000). Practice before the Supreme Court of Nevada: an overview, Carson City, Nev: Nevada State Supreme Court Clerk's Office.
- The Nevada State Supreme Court. (1986). Carson City, Nev: Administrative Office of the Courts.