Three justices elected to the Nevada Supreme Court in November were sworn in to new terms on Monday.
Chief Justice Nancy Becker administered the oath of office to Justice Michael Douglas, 56, former chief Clark County district judge who was appointed to the Supreme Court last March by Gov. Kenny Guinn and was elected Nov. 2.
Douglas, the first black justice in the 140-year history of the Nevada Supreme Court, easily defeated anti-tax activist Joel Hansen in the race to complete the remaining two years of the late Justice Myron Leavitt's six-year term.
Also sworn in on Monday were newly elected Justices Ron Parraguirre, 45, and Jim Hardesty, 55, both former district court judges.
Parraguirre, who was a judge in Las Vegas, defeated Reno entertainment attorney, businessman and former state Republican Party leader John Mason. Hardesty, who was the chief district judge in Reno, defeated Clark County Family Court Judge Cynthia "Dianne" Steel in November.
Douglas had been honored at a ceremony following his appointment last year, and most of Monday's event, attended by about 400 people, focused on the newest justices on the seven-member high court.
"There will be a great hole in our little corner of the judiciary," said Washoe District Judge Peter Breen, referring to Hardesty's step up from that court to the Supreme Court. Breen was joined by Nevada's chief U.S. bankruptcy judge, Gregg Zive, in praising Hardesty.
Hardesty, who has practiced law since 1975, was elected to Washoe District Court in 1998 to serve four years remaining in the term of Judge Mills Lane, who retired. Hardesty was re-elected in 2002 to a six-year term. His fellow judges elected him chief judge in 2001 and re-elected him to that post last year.
Clark County District Judge Nancy Saitta credited Parraguirre for his understanding as well as his knowledge of the law, quoting a line from Plato that says "no law or ordinance is mightier than understanding."
Her comments were echoed by another speaker, former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan.
Parraguirre, a fourth-generation Nevadan, served as a municipal court judge since 1991 before he was appointed to the district court bench in 1999.
His father, Paul Parraguirre, was a district judge in the Fifth Judicial District in Tonopah and deputy district attorney in Washoe and Clark counties. His uncles, Lorin and David Parraguirre, were deputy district attorneys in Washoe County. Lorin Parraguirre also served in the Nevada Assembly.