Should Judges be Appointed or Elected? Clark County District Court Judge Tim Williams and Nevada Attorney Paul Padda chime in!

Jim Jonas Host, Katrine “Mrs. Fix It” Ivanoff, Paul Padda Nevada Attorney, Tim Williams Clark County District Court Judge, Patty Lee Nevada Supreme Court Justice, and Steve Sanson Host

Clark County Nevada

January 30, 2023


On January 28, 2023, the Veterans In Politics Video Internet Talk Show interviewed Tim Williams Clark County District Court Judge & Paul Padda Nevada Attorney to discuss the Missouri Plan on the Veterans In Politics Video Internet talk-show.

Williams has been a trial Judge for the past 17 years on the District Court bench. Williams went through the appointment process three times before he was appointed to the bench.

Williams explained that the venting process an applicant has to go through is vigorous.

Williams said that financials are checked and an FBI background is also checked.

Williams said that many judicial candidates cannot make it through this same process.

Padda is the founder of Padda Law and was a former federal prosecutor with the US Attorney’s office. Padda has been in Vegas for the past 19 years.

Missouri Plan 

The Missouri Plan (originally the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan, also known as the merit plan, or some variation) is a method for the selection of judges. It originated in Missouri in 1940 and has been adopted by many states of the United States. Similar methods are used in some other countries.

Under the Plan, a non-partisan commission reviews candidates for a judicial vacancy. The commission then sends to the governor a list of candidates considered best qualified. The governor then has sixty days to select a candidate from the list. If the governor does not make a selection within sixty days, the commission makes the selection.

At the general election soonest after the completion of one year’s service, the judge must stand in a retention election. If a majority votes against retention, the judge is removed from office, and the process starts anew.[1] Otherwise, the judge serves out a full term.

As of 2016, 38 states have a form of merit-based selection and retention method for some or all judges.[2] Twenty-five states have a nominating commission to screen all candidates of the state courts of last resort.[2] Eight states have commissions that fill interim vacancies on the highest courts.[2] Twenty states utilize retention elections for judges who wish to serve on the highest state courts beyond their initial term.[2] 


The host asked what would you look for if they were on the Judicial Selection Committee both Williams and Padda said that they would look for experience, case filing, appellate work, vested in the bar, leadership in the community, reputation, and judicial temperament.

The reason we chose to discuss the Missouri Plan is that during the last two election cycles, the uneducated voting public has removed judges just to replace them with a specific gender or an American-sounding name. None of these are qualifiers to become an outstanding judge.

Williams said some people run for a judge that has disciplinary issues before the state bar.

William said that there is a watchdog committee that keeps judges in line under the Missouri Plan and they have the power to remove a judge for any reasons that are conflicting with the bench.

William said the committee checks judicial temperament, is the judge starting court on time, does the judge renders timely decisions, are the judicial canons are being followed, and so on.

William said although the Governor picks one of the three names the Judicial Selection Committee is the body that sends the applicants for the Governor to choose.

The host said that we need more transparency with the Judicial Selection Committee and to give the public more opportunities to have their input. Both Padda and Williams agree that we have to have transparency for the public to be at ease with the process. Williams suggested that the process should be televised.

William said that all courtrooms should have public access because it’s the people’s court and the courtrooms belong to the people, not attorneys who practice before the court.

The host said for the Missouri Plan to take effect it has to go before the voters on two separate election cycles because it’s a constitutional amendment.

Williams would like to take money out of the process of running for judge. The host brought up the fact that a current California Law mandates judges to inform all parties that appear before the court of donations of $1,500 or more and leaves it up to the parties to recuse them.

The host asked about term limits Williams and Padda said that judges don’t hit their prime until six years of being on the bench and 20 years should be sufficient time on the bench because an experienced judge is paramount to the community.

Padda said it is not his duty to educate a judge.

The host asked about qualified immunity, and William said that qualified immunity should not apply to judges, and that’s why we have an appeal process. Padda said that judges shouldn’t have to worry about getting sued.

Padda said a judge has to be thoughtful, experienced, and humble.

The host asked about discretion and Williams said that discretion is important to the bench, especially dealing with the law of civil procedures.

The host asked how important it is for a judge to explain to the parties how they arrived at each decision.

William said that it was very important and he asked the parties “why he is wrong” after he explains how he arrived at each decision made.

William continued and said if he can’t explain how he arrived at his decision then he needs to go back and do more research.

The host asked how long a judge has to take to render a decision. Williams said the rule says 60 calendar days and it is a sufficient amount of time.

The host believes that judges should not have a dual calendar both Williams and Padda agree because the laws are complex in both Civil and Criminal.

Both guests wrapped up and said people need to know their rights!

Tim Williams Clark County District Court Judge & Paul Padda Nv Attorney to discuss the Missouri Plan

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