Nevada justices consider term limits law

Chris Rizo Jul. 14, 2008, 12:00pm

Nevada Supreme Court Building

CARSON CITY, Nev. (Legal Newsline)-The Nevada Supreme Court hears oral arguments today in a case that questions the constitutionality of the state's term limits rule that was approved twice by voters in the Silver State.

The case centers on whether a handful of candidates for public office are eligible to seek re-election since Nevadans, in 1996, approved a constitutional amendment limiting the terms of service for certain public officers to 12 years.

At least 21 candidates in nine counties could be affected by the high court's decision, including state Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, a Democrat.

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller has said the candidates, which also includes longtime Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury and Nevada Regent Howard Rosenberg, are not eligible for another term because they've served the 12-year maximum time allowed in their offices.

The term limits amendment was approved by 70.4 percent of voters in 1994 and 58.3 percent in 1996.

The law says: "No person may be elected to any state office or local governing body who has served in that office, or at the expiration of his current term if he is so serving or will have served, 12 years or more, unless the permissible number of terms or duration of service is otherwise specified in this constitution."

At issue in the case is whether the election in 1996 counts against the time they could hold an office since term limits were made part of the state constitution that same year.

In papers filed with the high court, state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said the voters decided that officeholders should be restricted to 12 years of service and that should be respected.

"The voters added term limits to Nevada's Constitution to restrict the service of officials to 12 years," the Democratic AG wrote.
"While the service of Nevada's devoted officials must be applauded, the voters' will must be faithfully enforced."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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