Law firm aligned with Democrats to represent Legislature in redistricting lawsuit

A law firm known for representing Nevada Democrats is representing the state legislature in the ongoing redistricting lawsuit brought by Republican Assembly members.

Although not explicitly named in complaints filed by Assemblyman Greg Hafen (R-Pahrump), attorneys at the law firm Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin LLP filed a motion on Monday on behalf of the Legislative Assembly to intervene in the matter.

The lawsuit only named Governor Steve Sisolak and other elected officials from across the state, but the legislature is able to intervene in the case thanks to a section near the end of SB1, the bill of 2021 setting new legislative and parliamentary boundaries.

This wording gives the legislature “the unfettered right and ability to intervene in the action or proceeding” in any litigation challenging the constitutionality of newly drawn electoral districts, whether or not the body is named in the lawsuit.

The provision, which also relieves the Legislative Assembly of attorney fees, allows the body to become involved in relevant redistricting litigation by hiring “professional, technical, administrative and operational staff and consultants.”

The legislation requires the process to begin via a request from the Chairman of the Legislative Committee, who is Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas). Payments can be made from the Legislative Fund, a special budget account generally reserved for legislative operations.

According to campaign finance records, Wolf Rifkin provided legal services to the House and Senate Democratic caucuses in the past calendar year, which said they paid the firm a combined $116,000. Firm managing partner Bradley Schrager has represented a wide variety of Democratic candidates and causes, including the Biden campaign in the Nevada Republican Party’s and Trump’s presidential campaign’s efforts to overturn election results. of 2020.

Wolf Rifkin was also paid last year by Clark County Commissioner Ross Miller, a Democrat, for his work in an election dispute filed by his 2020 Republican opponent Stavros Anthony over election irregularities. .

There has been relatively little action in the redistricting lawsuit since it was filed in late November. An amended complaint adding additional complainants, including MP John Ellison (R-Elko), has been filed. filed end of January. These complainants also asked the court delays or briefly suspends the March nominee filing period while the litigation is pending.

The deadline for residency requirements for state legislative seats (30 days prior to candidate filing) is already here. Potential legislative candidates must live within their district boundaries by Feb. 16.

Filing deadlines and residency requirements do not necessarily preclude action in redistricting disputes, but courts are less likely to order substantive changes where doing so would interfere with ongoing electoral processes.

Tuesday, no hearing was scheduled in this case.

Editor’s Note: This story appears in Indy 2022, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2022 election. Sign up to receive the newsletter here.