Nevada Supreme Court rejects personhood initiative |

Nevada Supreme Court rejects personhood initiative

The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday ruled the battle over the so-called Personhood Initiative was moot and dismissed the appeal.

The Personhood Nevada ballot advocacy group headed by Richard Ziser of Las Vegas wanted to put an initiative on the 2010 ballot, which would declare human embryos at any stage of development as having all the rights of a person. Opponents said it was simply a backdoor attempt to shut down a woman’s right to an abortion.

The opponents won a ruling from Carson District Judge Todd Russell barring the initiative from the November 2010 ballot because he agreed it violated state law requiring that any initiative petition be confined to a single subject.

Supporters appealed but, before the high court could rule, the deadline for submitting initiative signatures expired and the ballots went to the printer.

“As a result, even if this court were to reverse the district court’s order, we could grant no effective relief from that order, rendering this appeal moot,” the seven members of the high court agreed in an opinion by Justice Jim Hardesty.

The opinion says the appeal was rendered moot when the advocates failed to submit enough valid signatures on their petition to qualify the question for the ballot.

Not only did they miss the June 15 deadline, the opinion says the 2010 general election is now concluded, meaning the high court can’t grant relief even if it agreed.

The Personhood group has indicated it intends to try the initiative again in 2012 and asked the court to vacate Russell’s ruling so it couldn’t be applied against their second attempt to reach the ballot.

The high court, however, said that isn’t necessary because the district court ruling doesn’t impact any future attempt by the group to qualify a question for the ballot.