In a unanimous decision, the Nevada Supreme Court today ruled in favor of Nevada Policy in the Institute’s ongoing separation of powers lawsuit. In a landmark, precedent-setting ruling, the Court expanded its rules regarding taxpayer standing.
Today’s decision will make it easier for all Nevadans to bring constitutional challenges such as these, thereby helping to ensure that the Nevada government operates within the confines of the state constitution.
“As NPRI has long argued, the government has an obligation to operate within the confines of the Constitution,” said Nevada Policy Vice President Robert Fellner. “But that will only happen if the judiciary permits Nevadans to bring constitutional challenges such as these.
“Today’s ruling is thus a tremendous victory for all those who believe in constitutional government and the rule of law,” Fellner added.
The lawsuit alleges that numerous Nevada state legislators are violating the constitutional separation of powers prohibition by simultaneously working as government employees. In addition to violating the constitution, dual-service also raises a host of conflict-of-interest issues, given that dual-serving legislators can frequently vote on issues that directly affect the very government agencies that they themselves work for.
In previous years, there was an almost universal consensus regarding the harms caused by dual service, with several Nevada Democrats condemning the practice.
“Few would support rules that limit their own power,” Fellner added, “which is precisely why the power to write the law must be kept separate from those tasked with enforcing the law.”
Now that the Nevada Supreme Court has formally recognized Nevada Policy as an appropriate party to bring this challenge, the case goes back to the district court, which now must address the fundamental question raised by the Institute’s lawsuit: whether state legislators can simultaneously serve as government employees.
After more than 70 years of waiting, today’s state supreme court ruling means that Nevadans are finally going to have an answer to that question.
For more information on Nevada Policy’s ongoing Separation of Powers lawsuit, please visit NevadaPolicy.org.
For questions, please contact Nevada Police Vice President Robert Fellner at Robert@NevadaPolicy.org.