CARSON CITY — Supreme Court justices Mark Gibbons and Kris Pickering wasted no time Monday filing for re-election to new six-year terms immediately after the secretary of state’s office opened at 8 a.m.
Both said they deserve re-election because they work hard and want to continue working for Nevadans.
Gibbons, 63, is seeking his third term on the Supreme Court. He received the court’s highest retention score, 86 percent, in a recent poll of members of the Clark County Bar Association. That means 86 percent of those polled believe he should be re-elected. Pickering received a 69 percent retention score.
“I am the longest-serving justice,” said Gibbons, who became chief justice this year. “I want to continue working for the citizens.”
He is no relation to former Gov. Jim Gibbons. His brother, Michael, is a district court judge in Douglas County.
Pickering, 61, said, “I do a good job. I have contributed to jurisprudence in Nevada. I am deeply invested in it.”
Neither was aware of any potential challengers. None of the seven justices has drawn a challenger since Pickering won her first term in 2008. The jobs pay $170,000 a year.
All candidates for Supreme Court justice, district court judge and justice of the peace can file for the 2014 election until 5 p.m. on Jan. 17. All are nonpartisan positions. The primary election is June 10. If three or more seek the same seat, the top two primary vote-getters advance to the Nov. 4 general election.
Of the 32 regular district court judges in Clark County, 28 incumbents filed for re-election Monday. Two who didn’t, Valorie Vega and Allan R. Earl, have said they would not seek re-election.
Of the 20 Clark County family court judges, 18 filed for re-election Monday. Suspended District Judge Steven Jones has not filed. The Commission on Judicial Discipline recently said Jones violated judicial ethics for handling cases involving his girlfriend, former deputy district attorney Lisa Willardson. She was found dead Dec. 26 in her Henderson home. Jones drew a 30 percent retention score in the Review-Journal’s poll of Clark County lawyers.
Three candidates, Rebecca Burton, Lynn Hughes and Michele “Shell” Mercer, filed Monday for Jones’ position.
Pickering and Gibbons both asked for citizen support in November’s election for a ballot question to establish an appeals court in Nevada. The question failed in 2010, and several times before.
The justices noted that with a three-member appeals court, the Supreme Court would have more opportunity to work on precedent-setting opinions and reduce the backlog of uncompleted cases. The court had a backlog of 1,879 cases on June 30, but projections call for that number to increase to 2,206 in 2015.
With an appeals court, Gibbons said, the Supreme Court could concentrate on First Amendment, elections and other cases that need quick resolution. In essence, it would handle “big cases,” Gibbons said, while the appeals court would deal with less pressing ones.
If the court of appeals is approved by voters, its judges would be appointed by the governor and begin court proceedings Jan. 5, 2015, out of the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. Their pay would be $165,000 a year.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at 775-687-3901 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @edison vogel.