Saturday, July 19, 2003

Rights & Reason: Nevada, cont.

The unusual en banc U.S. district court in Nevada yesterday dismissed a lawsuit brought in an effort to overrule the Nevada Supreme Court's unconstitutional wirt of mandamus directing the legislature, in essence, to raise taxes. In a per curiam order, the seven-judge district court dismissed the complaint on jurisdictional grounds. The basic problem, the court explained, was that the plaintiffs were seeking a review of the Nevada Supreme Court's order, and federal district courts can only exercise original jurisdiction, not appellate jurisdiction. It is well-settled law that only the United States Supreme Court may review final judgments of state supreme courts.

While I think there are ample federal constitutional grounds for overruling the Nevada Supreme Court order—such as Article IV's Guarantee Clause—the district court was probably correct to decline jurisdiction. A writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court would be the proper avenue for seeking relief from the Nevada high court's action.

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