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After Being Retired For A Month, Saitta Misses Supreme Court

Recently retired Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta said she left the bench with two years left in her term to spend more time with her family and donate more energy on behalf of the state’s young people.

Saitta served 10 years on the high court, including as chief justice in 2011 and 2012. She retired in early August and said she already misses the work.

“After so many years it becomes a way of life,” she said.

She plans to reconnect with her husband, children and grandchildren who sometimes took a back seat to the demands of the job. Saitta, who was chairwoman of the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission for Kids, also said she also is looking for ways to continue working to improve conditions for the Nevada’s children.

Including her time at Las Vegas Municipal Court and Clark County District Court, Saitta served 20 years as a judge.

Interview Highlights:

Do you miss it?

Yes. There is so much about the court. The work, the study, the people at the court after so many years it becomes a way of life. There’s a huge transition that takes place.

On the work that a State Supreme Court Justice does:

To say 24/7 would be an obvious exaggeration but the commitment you make to your work requires you to work all the time as much as you can. To read as much as you can. To use the support that you have from others for summaries of certain cases, for legal research. We use all the help that we can get, but we do all the heavy lifting.

Why did you decide to leave?

Primarily because, in mind, at age 65, it was a good time for me to take stock of where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do and most importantly to give back some time to the people and the things that mean so much to me.

I went to law school late. My kids grew up with me always working. My grandkids are growing up with me always working.  It’s time for me to get some work-life balance

On the allegation she’s leaving because of possible ties to an HOA scandal from a few years ago:

The truth remains the same today as it was when those whispers and allegations first surfaced. I had nothing to do with it. I remain strong and solid in denial of any wrong doing.

It had absolutely nothing to do with my departure. It had everything to do with a well thought-out, well-planned life balance decision, realizing that while I loved what I was doing. It was time for me to be sure that the rest of my years served what was important.        

What are you going to be doing to improve the welfare of children in Southern Nevada?

As much as I possibly can. The opportunity of being free of a court schedule… will give me the opportunity to commit myself full time to working towards better outcomes for our kids, better court systems to create both a welfare, and a court and a community that understands what kids and families go through when they’re in the system. And it’s all about doing better for the kids who don’t have a voice.

On how she’ll use her new work-life balance:

I will take senior status, which allows me to sit in any court at any level in the state of Nevada. I can pick and choose. It is sort of like a substitute teacher. The court needs a judge to fill in they can call me. I can sit, if I choose too.

By staying as a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission and the Juvenile Justice Commission, I can continue to do policy work. The beauty of this finding balance – suddenly at age 65 – is that I can commit my personal resources to the things that have always mattered the most to me. 

Nancy Saitta, retired Nevada Supreme Court Justice

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With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.