Our Opinion: Nevada justices guilty of dodging furloughs

It's hard to believe an organization as concerned with the letter of the law as the Nevada Supreme Court could have misunderstood a legislative initiative calling for state workers to take furloughs in order to cut the budget.

And yet, Chief Justice Michael Douglas told a joint legislative subcommittee that it was the high court's understanding that furloughs were "an option, not a mandatory situation."

The Chief Justice said that the court believed that as long as the cuts in the budget matched the savings furloughs would have generated everything was OK.

There must have been something that prompted the Supreme Court to issue a press release on July 17, 2009, saying that because the court reduced its budget 4.6 percent, it wouldn't be issuing any furloughs.

When called on the issue by lawmakers, Douglas might have well as answered, "Guilty, with an explanation."

As it turns out the court's income is down 5 percent and may force them to require their staff to take furloughs after all.

A chief source of income for the courts are the administrative fees being charged around the state.

Douglas said that because more poor people are being convicted of minor offenses, instead of spending their money on fines, they're opting for community service.

And then were the two courts in Southern Nevada that were closed for a week in December.

We're all for the separation of powers, and the power that belongs to the legislative branch is that of the purse string.

If in determining what the people are willing to spend, lawmakers decide all state workers should take furloughs, then those who are working for the Supreme Court or any other branch of government must be among them.


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