Nevada is one of only 10 states + DC without an intermediate appellate court. Like many other states, the state’s constitutional article related to the judiciary locks the state into a supreme court, district courts, justice of the peace courts, and (if the legislature approves, which it has), municipal courts. In 1980 and 1992 voters rejected efforts to amend the constitution to allow, but not require, the legislature to create an intermediate appellate. A third attempt in 2010 (Question 2) was rejected 47/53%.
Last week, a new effort at creating an intermediate appellate court was introduced in the state’s Assembly (AJR 7) and Senate (SJR 14). Unlike the 2010 version which allowed the legislature to create an intermediate appellate court (called the “court of appeals”) these amendments would directly create the court. The court would have civil and criminal jurisdiction, but the Supreme Court also “shall fix by rule the jurisdiction of the court of appeals.” Interestingly, while the Supreme Court can temporarily “assign down” a court of appeals judge to sit as a supplemental district court judge, temporarily elevations to the court of appeals due to disability or disqualification would be made by the governor. While initially a three-member court, the amendments would allow for expansion by the legislature.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding held hearings today and a work session on April 7 on its version, while the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee will hold hearings on April 5.