Supreme Court Justice Lidia Stiglich on Monday urged voters to get more involved in judicial elections.
Too many people, she said, don’t even vote for judicial posts.
Stiglich was appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval to fill out the remaining two years of Nancy Saitta’s term after Saitta retired. Now she’s running for her first full six-year term on the high court.
She’s opposed in the November general election by Las Vegas family court judge Mathew Harter.
“You need to care as much about who’s going on the bench as you do about who’s going to the White House,” she said.
One problem for voters, she said, is judges seeking election can’t take positions on issues that may appear before them.
As for herself, she said, “I’ve demonstrated I work for you.”
“I’m committed to my role and committed to this state too,” she said. “I come to work every day committed to work.”
The issue, she said, is, “How can we get the courts open to more people.”
The answer, Stiglich said, is to provide better services and that means resolving cases in a much more timely fashion. She said it shouldn’t take years to resolve a case.
“We are not too busy,” she said. “People want decisions and that’s what we’re there for.”
Stiglich said while she enjoys the job, it’s a difficult job.
“It’s like being on a jury all the time,” she said.
Stiglich said the court will probably see a record 3,000 case filings this year. To handle that load, she said they now turn about 1,000 of those cases over to the intermediate appellate court and handle many more significant cases in three-judge panels. That, she said, is creating more time for them to author opinions that develop Nevada law on a variety of issues.
But with the caseload growing, she said they may have to ask for a second three-judge intermediate appellate panel.
En banc hearings — those before the full seven-member court — she said are held in death cases and issues of statewide importance or new law issues.
Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court in November 2016, she served as a Washoe district judge, handling everything from murder trials to drug cases and civil suits.
Stiglich graduated from U.C. Berkeley and earned her law degree from Hastings School of Law.