The Constitution of Nevada provides that the purpose of the Commission on Judicial Selection is to fill mid-term judicial vacancies for Nevada on the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or District Court bench. Such vacancies usually occur due to the retirement or passing of a sitting judge.

Commission Meetings Open to the Public

While the Commission is exempt from the Nevada Open Meeting Law under NRS 241.016, there is a presumption that the Commission will conduct meetings, interviews, and voting in public session. Notice is provided for all meetings and the Commission makes space available in both courthouses for the public to join in-person for all meetings. All regular meetings may be joined via Zoom. Interviews are streamed on the Court’s YouTube Channel.

Filling a Mid-term Judicial Vacancy

Once the Governor acknowledges the resignation, retirement, or passing of a Supreme Court Justice, Court of Appeals Judge or a District Court Judge, the Commission convenes to identify three nominees to send to the Governor, to appoint a new justice or judge for the vacancy.

The Commission solicits applicants and once applications are received, conducts comprehensive background investigations, and interviews the applicants.

Applications include information about education, law practice, business and community involvement, professional and personal conduct, and health.

The Commission invites written and in-person comments from the public about the qualifications of applicants.

Following the interviews, the Commission, chaired by the Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice, deliberates in public, selects three finalists by secret ballot, and sends the names that day to the Governor.

The Commission bases its nominations on the applications, letters of reference, public comments, and responses to verbal questions posed during interviews.

The Governor appoints one of the three nominees as the new judge.

Governor Appoints the New Judge

No time limit exists within which the Governor must make a judicial appointment. However, if an appointment is not made within 30 days following submission of the nominees by the Commission, the Governor may make no other appointments to public office.

The Term of the New Judge

The appointee is appointed until the first Monday in January of the next general election, not through the entirety of the unexpired term.

Temporary Members

For District Court vacancies, two temporary members are appointed – a non-attorney by the Governor, and an attorney by the State Bar of Nevada. Temporary members must be residents of the judicial district in which the vacancy occurs. Temporary members serve only until the nominations for the vacancy are transmitted to the Governor.

For further information, contact:

Margarita Bautista
Commission Staff
Administrative Office of the Courts