Filling High Court Vacancy Could Take Time

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It could take several months to fill the Nevada Supreme Court vacancy caused by the death late Friday of Justice Myron Leavitt at age 73.

The application process can take six weeks to two months, and then the state Commission on Judicial Selection must conduct interviews and submit three names to Gov. Kenny Guinn, state Supreme Court spokesman Bill Gang said.

Guinn would have 30 days to select one of the finalists as Leavitt's replacement.

If the selection is made before the close of political filing on May 14, the appointee would have to run for election in November. If the selection is made after the filing closes, the appointee would serve through 2006 when Leavitt's six-year term expires.

Leavitt, who received a kidney transplant on Nov. 17, was recovering from that surgery but became ill several days ago and was hospitalized. During his recovery from surgery, Leavitt had kept up with his court caseload from home, writing and signing orders and opinions.

A funeral service for Leavitt, who also was a successful private-practice attorney, Las Vegas justice of the peace and councilman, district judge, Clark County commissioner and Nevada lieutenant governor, will be held Wednesday in Las Vegas.

Leavitt was appointed a Clark County District Court judge in 1984, was retained in 1988 and re-elected in 1992 and 1996. In 1998, he was elected to a two-year term on the Supreme Court and won election to a six-year term in 2000 without opposition.