PSC-101 Introduction To American Politics

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An Analysis of The Nevada Constitution and US Government Structures

The four components of your paper assignment are:

The following questions are asked of you:

Explain the significance of Nevada’s constitution being longer than the U.S. Constitution.

It is longer than the United States Constitution. What does this mean for Nevada judges who interpret it?

It is easy to see how much power Nevada’s governor has within the state political system in comparison with the president’s power within a national system of governance.

Take into account formal powers (vetoes, pardons, and who they can appoint or deny), such as the Secretary of State, judges etc.

Explain how Nevada’s legislature is constrained because of Nevada’s forms o direct democracy (i.e. recall, initiative, recall, statute affirmation and statute affirmation), as well as its constitutional mandate to meet every other year for 120-days, etc.

Describe the strengths, weaknesses, and similarities of Nevada’s system for selecting judges, compared to the Merit Plan, also known as “Missouri Plan”, used in other states as well as the U.S. system for appointing judge.

Describe Nevada’s recent moves to the merit system.

Also, discuss Nevada’s recent attempts at establishing an intermediate court of appels, including its successful November 2014 attempt.


The Nevada state constitution is designed to govern residents of Nevada, to the exclusion of all other states making Nevada a sovereign state.

The Nevada constitution is significantly longer than the United States constitution and was ratified back in 1864.

The Nevada constitution is longer because of its many broken parts, which are considered extensions to the United States Constitution.

Because it was expanded to address the unique needs of Nevada citizens, the Nevada Constitution has a longer length.

The constitution of Nevada reflects the citizens’ desire for freedom and has nineteen articles.

The United States of America Constitution is, primarily, a guide document that all states can adopt in their state constitutions. It makes them shorter and more detailed.

Due to the fact that state constitutions have a lot of responsibilities, they are typically longer than Federal constitutions. Therefore, the Nevada state constitution is longer than the United States Constitution.

It is also much easier to amend the Nevada State constitution than the United States Constitution.

The Nevada Constitution is heavier because of the ease with which amendments can be made.

The Nevada Constitution is heavier because it delegated many functions to states. (Bower 2002).

Additionally, the rights and duties that are enshrined by the Nevada constitution go beyond the legitimacy of the state. They also cover other aspects of the state, such as the economy, revenue and other special issues unique to Nevada.

The state constitutions are easily amendable, making it possible for them to contain more articles and pages than federal constitutions.

Sandoval, Brian is currently the Nevada Governor. He has an extensive range of political powers.

Nevada Governors have enormous political powers that are similar to those of presidents in other jurisdictions.

Presidents head military forces in their respective countries. The Governor of Nevada, however, is the commander in Chief of the Nevada military forces (Ballotpedia.n.d.). In the same way, the governor also has the power to veto the governor’s actions in carrying out his duties as governor.

In most African countries like Kenya, the president holds the veto power. The head of the Kenyan military force is the president. If the president is unable or unwilling to fulfill these duties, the deputy presidency takes over.

Nevada’s governor is empowered with political powers, including the ability to pardon, remiss fines and forfeitures as well as the power to call legislative sessions and adjourn proceedings.

In Nevada’s constitution, the President is allowed to exercise his functions with both military and civil officers. This is also shared with presidents from other jurisdictions.

The United States of America President has the ability to appoint ambassadors and federal court judges, as well as cabinet secretaries.

The United States President can also exercise veto power and enter into treaties on behalf the country.

The United States government also has the power to convene and adjourn Congress sessions (Harcourt 2016).

Overall, the United States president has greater power in Nevada as it relates to the command of military and armed force forces.

In Nevada, the governor wields military power like the president.

Similar to the president, the governor has military power over the state’s military forces (Banning 2013). The governor in Nevada is also responsible for appointing the heads of various state departments and commissions to serve Nevadans.

It is clear that the governor is the executive head and most important political figure in the state.

Governors enjoy most of the same powers and privileges as the presidents of many global states. This position is therefore politically significant.

The role of governor in state is just as powerful as the position of president of a federal government or parliamentary one.

The Nevada constitution currently gives the citizens the ability to create and amend laws.

It is remarkable that citizens in Nevada can participate in their governance through initiatives and referendums. Citizens also have the ability to circulate petitions among their citizens. This form of democracy allows them to fight injustices and monitor the performance and accountability of their elected officials.

Referendums allow citizens to approve or deny acts of Parliament (statutes). This form of democracy reduces the legislative’s major function in law making, which is commonly called legislation.

Direct democracy is a well-known form of democracy.

There are seven forms of direct democracy that are widely recognized. These include legislative referred constitution amendment, also known as referendum or legislatively referred statute, initiated statute (directly and indirectly), constitutional amend, constitutional amendment, constitutional referendum, veto referendums, statewide recall, state affirmation, and veto referendums.

Nevada is the sole state that has implemented state affirmation. Ballotpedia n.d.

This right or privilege is being delegated to Nevada citizens, which reduces the powers of the legislature and makes it less powerful.

Recall Powers

Nevada’s citizens launched recall campaigns against secretary of state Woodhouse Henderson and Farley. (Joecks 2017).

In particular, Article 2 of the Nevada Constitution gives citizens the right to recall public officers where they serve.

Because the power to recall is with the citizens, it seeks to balance the interests of the people. In other words, this puts the legislature members at their mercy (Pooja n.d).

In this way, the legislature is deprived of many functions.

Additionally, the term limit for legislators in Nevada is too long. However, this does not guarantee tenure security due to the need for a second mandate.

The assembly has a lifetime limit of twelve years and the senators have a 12 year limit (O.N.E.n.d). In addition, Nevada’s legislative sittings are held biennially unless the Governor requests it or 2/3 of its members petition for it.

In Nevada, the constitution restricts the allowances that members receive for legislative meetings. This limits the freedom of the legislature not to determine its own compensation.

Nevada’s constitution restricts the functions of legislature. This means that it is prohibited from enacting bills and attending to business that wasn’t planned or approved for during that legislative session.

The Nevada constitution regulates the activities of the legislature.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Nevada Judicial System & the “Missouri Plan”.

It is notable that Nevada judges can be elected through the people’s votes, which in a way is an indicator of democracy as well as public participation.

It is remarkable that the Nevada judicial systems has the option to choose “none of these” which allows voters freedom of expression without being compelled.

The argument against this merit plan is that the power to appoint judicial officers directly by the people is removed. Instead, the mandate will be delegated to a committee.

Merit Plan to be Switched

Nevada is moving towards adopting parts the merit plan in the selection of its judges.

Current proposals prohibit judges from making political contributions in order to reduce the influence of the state.

Judges would be appointed only after they have been nominated by a state-appointed commission (Gold 2006). It is important to note that the state appointed commission will scrutinize the qualifications and character of candidates before they are appointed, which will in turn ensure that the commission is diligent and impartial.

The likelihood that judges will be properly selected is higher than under the current system thanks to this judicial committee.

It is proposed that judges will serve a two year probationary term under the “Nevada Plan”. This would allow time for review of candidates prior to open election.

It is important to note that the probationary period has its advantages. It makes it easier to judge the independence and suitability of judges.

The current Nevada judicial system is home to an intermediate appellate Court. However, it wasn’t easy.

In 1980 and 1992, efforts to establish an appellate interim court were rejected by voters (Gaveltogavel 2013.)

Finally, Nevada’s court of intermediate appeal was elected through amendments to its Constitution on November 4, 2014.

Three judges, who are also experienced in Idaho and Mississipi, will be responsible for the operation of the court.

It is remarkable that the Nevada court of appellate has significantly reduced the backlog and provided timely judgments and ruling. This helps promote timely and accessible justice for Nevadans.

Works Cited

Accessed 10 Dec 2017.

Ballot pedia.

(N.d.).Governor Nevada.

Accessed 10 Dec 2017.

(2013). The Role of and Responsibilities for State Officers.

The Sagebrush State. Nevada’s History and Government.

Nevada Secretary of state.

Accessed 10 Dec 2017.

Encyclopedia Britannica.

Gavel to gavel.

(2006). Nevada judges are in need of new rules.

Harcourt Mifflin.Houghton.

(2017).Recall efforts appropriate under Nevada s Constitution. Las Vegas Review Journal.

(n.d.). “Court of Appeals”.

Government of Nevada.

(N.d.). “More details about the Legislative Process.”


Accessed 10 December 2017.

(N.d.). The Constitution of Nevada.


(N. d).Responsibilities and Term Limits of the Nevada Legislature.

Online Nevada Encyclopedia.

(N.d).System of Recall. Advantages & Disadvantages of Recall System.

Political Science notes.

The Constitution Center.

(N. d.). The Constitution of the United States.

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