Personhood ruling

The Nevada Supreme Court has directed sponsors of a “personhood” initiative petition to give the court reasons why it should not regard a challenge to the petition as moot.

At issue is a petition originating with an out-of-state group that seeks to declare Nevadans as persons. The measure is opposed by Nevada anti-abortion groups who say it is so imprecisely worded that the courts could use it in unforeseen ways. It is opposed by others because they fear it could invalidate living will laws. A district court judge overturned it on grounds that it violates a “single subject” rule for Nevada lawmaking. The Supreme Court is handling the appeal of that ruling.

In its entirely, the initiative reads, “In the great state of Nevada, the term ‘person’ applies to every human being.”

The court’s order reads, “It appears that the initiative’s proponents may not have obtained sufficient signatures to place the measure on the ballot, thus rendering this appeal moot. … This court’s duty is to decide actual controversies, not to give opinions on moot questions. … Accordingly, appellants shall have ten days from the date of this order to show cause why this appeal should not be dismissed as moot.”

What distressed the measure’s backers about the order is that it came down the day after the deadline for filing petitions, prompting them to accuse the court of running out the clock.

“After sitting on the case for months, the Nevada State Supreme Court waited until the day after the Personhood Nevada deadline to now ask why they should have to decide the case at all,” read an item at Christian News Wire.