November 12, 2015

Martinez names Nakamura to fill Supreme Court vacancy


Photo Credit: Joe Gratz cc

Gov. Susana Martinez named a Second Judicial District Court Judge to fill the vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

Photo Credit: Joe Gratz cc

Photo Credit: Joe Gratz cc

Martinez announced in a press release on Thursday afternoon that Judge Judith Nakamura will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Richard Bosson.

“Judge Nakamura has shown tremendous leadership and dedication during her time on the bench. As an advocate for public safety, she has a proven track record of working to keep our families safe,” Governor Martinez said in a statement. “I’m proud to appoint her to our highest court because she has devoted her career to upholding justice, and I’m confident she will continue to serve New Mexico with integrity.”

Nakamura has served on the Second Judicial District Court since 2013, when she was appointed by Martinez. Before that, she was on the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, beginning in 1998. Nakamura was chief judge from 2002 to 2013.

It is the second time that Martinez was able to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court. Unlike the federal Supreme Court, appointees must then face a partisan election to retain the spot during the next general election.

Judith Nakamura, 2nd Judicial District Court photo

Judith Nakamura, 2nd Judicial District Court photo

Nakamura will be on the 2016 ballot.

Martinez’s previous Supreme Court choice, prominent Albuquerque attorney Paul Kennedy, lost the partisan election. It was his second stint on the court after being appointed by Gov. Gary Johnson in 2002.

Kennedy lost to Barbara J. Vigil in 2012.

After the partisan election, the each justice must go through a retention election where they must receive 57 percent of the vote. If they pass that retention, they face retention elections every eight years.