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Trial Court Judges On The Front Lines Of Recent SCOTUS Rulings

Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Hardesty spoke to 43 new judges in Reno Thursday about recent Supreme Court rulings that will undoubtedly have an impact on their work. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Billman has more.

Justice Hardesty brought up well-known rulings like Obergefell versus Hodges, which made same-sex marriage legal nationwide. He says trial court judges are now on the front lines for follow up debates:

"Does the clerk have to issue the marriage certificate and, if not, what happens? Does a company that puts on weddings have to conduct those services for a same sex marriage couple? And moving forward, do the rules here apply to transgender folks as well?"

He also mentioned a case called Rodriguez vs. United States, in which the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement cannot hold a motorist after a traffic stop to bring in drug sniffing dogs unless there's a reasonable suspicion of drug activity. Hardesty says that's sure to come up soon in an Elko courtroom.

"We've had a couple of cases in the Nevada Supreme Court on this very issue," he explains, "but I use Elko as an example because of the frequency of drug-trafficking on I-80."

Every year, the National Judicial College in Reno hosts about 100 training sessions for up to 8,000 brand new judges. Most states don't offer any pre-bench training.


Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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