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Hardesty new Supreme Court Chief Justice

Staff Reports

On Monday, Justice James W. Hardesty will become chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court. Chief Justice Mark Gibbons, who has served as chief justice throughout 2014, will conclude his term and Hardesty will assume leadership as the administrative head of Nevada’s judicial branch of government.

Hardesty is a native Nevadan, having been born and raised in Reno. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, and practiced law in Reno from 1975 through 1998. He represented The Record-Courier when the newspaper sued the Douglas County School District in 1992 to get the names of superintendent candidates. He was elected to the District Court bench in Washoe County in 1998. He was elected to the Supreme Court in 2004 and previously served as Chief Justice in 2009.

In 2014, Gibbons and Hardesty worked closely with their colleagues on the Court and Nevada’s legal community to explain the need for a Court of Appeals, which was approved by voters in November.



“Justice Hardesty tirelessly traveled the state demonstrating the need for a Court of Appeals and explaining how the court will benefit Nevadans,” said Gibbons. Establishing the new court is expected to be one of Hardesty’s first tasks.

“The beginning of the Court of Appeals marks a historic moment in the history of Nevada’s judicial system and will be one of the most important projects of the Supreme Court in the new year,” said Hardesty. “The Court of Appeals provides us with the opportunity to reduce the backlog of the Supreme Court and eventually provide quicker resolution of all appeals in Nevada. I anticipate assigning our three new appellate judges their first 163 cases the first week of January.”



Hardesty will work with Nevada’s lawmakers on budget and legislation at the 2015 Nevada Legislature and will give the State of the Judiciary address to lawmakers early in the session. The chief justice is administrative head of the state’s legal system, speaking publicly for the Court and representing the Nevada Judiciary nationally.

The chief justice presides when the Supreme Court sits as the full court and chairs the Commission on Judicial Selection, which nominates candidates for judicial appointment, and the Judicial Council of the State of Nevada. Under the Nevada Constitution, only justices in the last two years of their current six-year term of office are eligible to be Chief Justice.