Buckley term limits ruling to be separate

The Nevada Supreme Court determined Tuesday it would rule separately on the term limits case involving Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley.

On Monday, justices heard arguments on the constitutionality of term limits as they applied to Buckley, and, in a separate case, to Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury and other elected officials.

Parties refused to speculate how splitting the cases might affect the rulings. However, court observers have speculated that the justices would rule in favor of allowing Buckley to serve another term, a decision that also would affect 12 other lawmakers seeking re-election.

This is in part because Secretary of State Ross Miller did not challenge the candidacies of lawmakers.

A clause in the state constitution states that the terms for legislators begin the day after they are elected. Buckley and others have interpreted this to mean that lawmakers elected or re-elected in 1996 began their terms before term limits approved by voters that same election went into effect with the canvassing of the election some weeks later.

Voters approved the constitutional amendment on term limits of 12 years in 1994 and again in 1996.

The ruling in Woodbury's case also would affect some 19 other officeholders statewide seeking re-election. Certain prior legal opinions, including one for Woodbury from the district attorney, had indicated that clock would not begin ticking on term limits until 1998.

Justices have not said when they will be making their rulings.