running unopposed in the primary election and will be automatically
re-elected to the bench because there will be only one choice for
voters on the June ballot. So voters have no information about whether
the judicial candidates who are listed on the ballot are qualified.
This method deprives citizens of choosing whom to vote for. The
Oxford’s definition of the term “vote” is “A formal indication of a
choice between two or more candidates or courses of action, expressed
typically through a ballot or a show of hands or by voice.”
It’s a jackpot victory for the incumbents and a sure loss for citizens
who are disempowered from casting their votes. It infringes on their
First Amendment rights.
The victory prompts an outcry from critics of the one-vote system.
They say it is all but certain that these judges have already won. Why
have their names listed on the ballot? It just gives leverage to
judges to affect the result of an election already tainted by private
corrupted tipping from well-connected lawyers.
Registered voters should be able to write in the name of their
Critics of this one-vote system say that the Nevada’s judiciary seems
bent on expanding its power by intimidating lawyers from entering the
race because it guarantees a predictable win. It’s a ploy to keep
entrenched incumbent judges on court benches who are controlled by
powerful and wealthy backers.
In addition, two candidates who are not even on the ballot are running
unopposed for the Nevada Supreme Court. The candidates are Justices
Mark Gibbons and Mary “Kris” Pickering.
Family court judges are initially elected to a four-year term and will
be on the ballot for a standard 6-year term while Supreme Court judges
are elected to 6-year terms, according to the Clark County Election
website of Justices and Judges.
Nevada state judicial elections have evolved from fundraising events
where guests raised $30,000, according to an LA Times article, “In Las
Vegas, They’re Playing With a Stacked Judicial Deck,” to recent
contributions from Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate, who spent $30
million in donations.
And now the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that lifted the cap on
individual campaign contributions will allow “a single individual to
contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a
candidate’s campaign.” McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, No.
It gets much worse. But it’s the cronyism system behind closed doors,
orchestrated by wealthy lawyers, and pressured by political
consultants, who manipulate and broker judicial appointments that
ultimately decides who is going to run. These JACs (judicial action
consultants coined here for the first time,) offer bribes to hopeful
candidates in exchange for funding their campaign.
The culture of corruption that led to JACs campaigning and offering
bribes to potential candidates is swirling around the Justice
courthouse and Clark County Election Department. Well-connected
attorneys who have that kind of money are bestowing their endorsement
on juiced-up candidates after JACs like Dave Thomas have approached
and bribed them into office.
JACs have the advantage of candidates motivated and eager to be
elected because of monies they have received to help them in their
election and to make sure they remain obedient to their wealthy
This is the stuff of Operation Greylord in the seventies: Chicago
lawyers bribing judges to fix cases. Only in Nevada, it’s fixing
The average voter lacks information about most of the candidates’
credentials and now the race comes down to a vote for one and how
juiced-up the candidates are.
Not all the judges have paid juice money. Some candidates who were
approached by Thomas refused the money.
The 2014 judicial election only highlights Nevada’s reputation as a
judicial hellhole, where jackpot verdicts are the new norm, according
to Judicial Hellholes 2013/2014.
The Nevada attorney general should form an independent task force,
separate from the Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics and Election
practices, for changing Nevada’s campaign finance laws. This will put
an end to JAC’s running judicial elections with tainted monies in
exchange for a seat on the bench.
An angry public, frustrated by the blatant cronyism and corruption in
Nevada courts, is fighting back in social media.
They are stepping forward to debate and blog to protest their
knowledge of the judges and the attorneys involved in a culture of
The will of citizens has the power to enact change because their right
to vote is under threat.
Expect a low turnout because of the One Vote Rule. It may have already
persuaded voters since they have already been shut out of the debating