Process begins to replace Justice Leavitt |

Process begins to replace Justice Leavitt

Miriam Shearing, chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court, said Monday the process of picking a judge to fill Myron Leavitt’s seat on the court will begin soon.

Leavitt, 73, died Friday, two months after an apparently successful kidney transplant. Coroners were still trying to determine what caused his death.

Shearing said the process of selecting his replacement is the same as when a district court judge dies or leaves office.

“We will issue an announcement for the vacancy and ask for applications,” she said. “As soon as the applications are in, the Judicial Commission will review the candidates and send three to the governor.”

The commission, headed by Shearing, is composed of judges, lawyers and members of the public.

Gov. Kenny Guinn will select the member of the high court from the three names presented to him by the commission. Under Nevada’s constitution, the appointment will expire the first Monday of January following the next general election. Ronda Moore, elections deputy for the Secretary of State’s Office, said that means the seat is open for election this year.

Shearing said she expects the commission will take applications for 30 days before reviewing the qualifications and background of those interested. A law degree is required to be a member of the high court, along with citizenship and Nevada residency.

In the meantime, Shearing said she will sit in Leavitt’s place on the Southern Nevada court panel. Normally, the chief justice doesn’t sit on the court’s two three-member panels unless one of the other justices is disqualified.

She said if there is a need for another judge to sit in on cases, they will call on retired Justice Cliff Young of Reno, who left the court in 2002.