Las Vegas Sun

January 16, 2018

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Case of ‘none’ voting option sparks judicial spat

In a rare case of public judicial infighting, federal District Judge Robert C. Jones of Reno says he resents the personal attack on him by an appeals court judge.

Jones issued an order cancelling a Sept. 14 hearing on further motions on the suit seeking to stop the "none of these candidates" voting option from appearing on the Nevada election ballot.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling of Judge Jones, who decided that the "none" option should not appear on the ballot for president.

Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote a concurring opinion, slamming the handling of the case by Jones.

Jones, in his order Wednesday, complained the attack by Reinhardt questioned his "personal integrity and motivation." And he said the accusation is false that he personally delayed a decision to prevent an appeal to the 9th Circuit.

Jones was appointed by Republican President George Bush and Reinhardt was chosen by Democratic President Jimmy Carter.

Jones accused Reinhardt of "inappropriate judicial activity" in contacting his office asking for an early entry of a preliminary ruling.

Judge Jones ruled the "none" option should be off the ballot as sought by Republican leaders who feel that in the close presidential contest, the dissatisfied voter would choose Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama.

He refused to stay his order so the state could appeal to the 9th Circuit Court. But the Senior Deputy Attorney General Kevin Benson filed an emergency order, and the appeals court ruled that "none" should stay on the ballot.

Judge Reinhardt accused Jones of "dilatory tactics" to prevent the state from appealing the decision before the Friday deadline to proof and print the election ballots.

Reinhardt said Jones not only delayed his decision but would have deprived the citizens of their right to take part in the presidential election. "Such arrogance and assumption of power by one individual is not acceptable in our judicial system."

Rarely do judges get in a personal battle in official court documents.

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