High court to review whether judge can be recalled from office
The Nevada Supreme Court has put the unprecedented attempt to recall a North Las Vegas judge from office on hold until an October 5 hearing.
Clark County District Judge Eric Johnson ruled the recall election could go forward but attorneys for Judge Catherine Ramsey appealed to the high court arguing voters can’t recall a judge. The Nevada Constitution says a “public officer” can be recalled from office if 25 percent of those who voted in that election sign a recall petition and a majority of voters then vote for removal.
But Ramsey’s lawyer Craig Mueller said judges aren’t included in the definition of public officers and, therefore, can’t be recalled.
Judge Johnson rejected that argument saying voters in 1912 made every public officer in the state of Nevada subject to recall.
Ramsey is a municipal judge who has been in office since 2011. Supporters of the recall movement say she dismissed cases out of spite for the city attorney and used her city purchasing card for personal expenses. She has faced numerous allegations of hostile conduct on the bench.
If a recall election is ordered, it would be a first in Nevada history for a judge and the first American judge to face a recall election in more than 30 years, according to Joshua Spivak, a senior fellow at the Hugh Carey Institute for Government Reform in New York.
Until the October hearing before the Supreme Court, the stay preventing the election from being held will remain in effect.