Supreme Court removes appointed judge |

Supreme Court removes appointed judge

by Geoff Dornan
R-C Capitol Bureau

The Nevada Supreme Court has ordered District Judge Robert Teuton of Las Vegas removed from office.

The six justices supporting the decision ruled that even though Teuton was appointed just a few weeks before the November 2008 elections, the Constitution requires that appointed judges be on the ballot for the next general election following that appointment. Therefore, they ruled, Teuton’s appointment expired on the first Monday of this year – the day those elected in the November 2008 elections took office.

“We conclude that judicial vacancy appointments expire on the first Monday in January after the first general election following that appointment, without exception,” the opinion by Justice Michael Cherry states.

The court directed Gov. Jim Gibbons to declare the office vacant.

The lone dissent was written by Justice Mark Gibbons who said because Teuton was appointed just before the election, there was no time to put the office on the ballot.

“Until today’s decision, in Nevada, the term ‘next general election’ has always referred to the first general election when the vacancy may be filled by valid election,” he wrote.

The other alternative, he said, would be to repeat the lengthy process of appointing some one to the post a second time in a matter of a couple of months.

“The practical consequences of the majority’s conclusion means that, when a vacancy occurs after the second Tuesday in June (the day of the primary election) the office must again be declared vacant as was done here, or the election deadlines must be viewed as optional,” he wrote. “Neither result is acceptable.”