Deciding it needed more information than initially thought, the Nevada Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in a case involving Amber Candelaria, a Las Vegas attorney who appealed to the high court after a district judge ruled she was ineligible to run for a Las Vegas justice of the peace judgeship.
The full court will hear the appeal on an expedited basis at 9:30 a.m. today at the downtown Las Vegas Regional Justice Center.
According to court papers filed by District Attorney David Roger, Candelaria’s candidacy was challenged based on Nevada law that mandates justice of the peace candidates must be licensed for five years before running. Candelaria was licensed in October 2006. Her challengers are named as petitioners in the lawsuit.
They are Deputy District Attorney Bernard Zadrowski, Senior Deputy Attorney General Conrad Hafen and private attorney Colby Beck.
Candelaria’s attorneys, Daniel Polsenberg and Alan LeFebvre, contend the law is vague and unconstitutional. They argue the Legislature’s intent was to ensure newly minted attorneys weren’t being elected to judgeships with no practical legal experience. They argue Candelaria should be given credit for all of 2006 because she paid a full year’s dues to the Nevada State Bar, an organization in which membership is mandatory in Nevada.
Also, the attorneys challenge the constitutionality of the law based on the fact that justice of the peace candidates in most Clark and Washoe county communities must have five years of experience as a licensed attorney, while justices of the peace in rural counties, don’t even have to be lawyers.
District Judge James Bixler, who last month ordered Candelaria off the ballot, did acknowledge that the statute raises questions.