Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson will retire form the state’s high court later this year, he announced on Friday morning.
Bosson is one of five Supreme Court justices and has served since 2002. He was Chief Justice for two years, from 2005 to 2006. Before his time on the state Supreme Court, he was a judge on the state Court of Appeals.
“After 21 years on the appellate courts, it’s time to leave and allow younger blood into the judiciary,” Bosson said in a statement. “I have enjoyed my tenure immensely and feel very humbled by the opportunity to have served the citizens of New Mexico.”
He said he would give a formal notice of his retirement later this year. At that time, Gov. Susana Martinez will be able to choose a replacement.
Bosson was a member of the Legal Aid Society of Albuquerque and helped found the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, more commonly known as MALDEF, in Albuquerque in 1970. Bosson later worked in the office of the state Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division and was the Director of the Civil Division from 1976-1978.
Bosson was elected the the state Supreme Court in 2002.
Unlike United States Supreme Court justices, New Mexico Supreme Court justices do not serve for life, instead they serve for eight-year terms after which they are up for election.
This will be the second vacancy that Martinez will be able to fill. In 2012, Patricio Serna retired and Martinez appointed Paul Kennedy to sit on the high court, the second time Kennedy had been appointed (Gary Johnson previously appointed Kennedy).
After the Judicial Nominating Commission provides Martinez with choices to replace Bosson, she will make the appointment. Then there will be an election in 2016 to fill the remainder of the term, with the appointee participating in a partisan election.
Kennedy attempted to retain his spot in 2012, but lost to Barbara J. Vigil. Currently, all five members of the state Supreme Court are Democrats.
Correction: This story originally said the Judicial Standards Commission provides nominees to Martinez; it is the Judicial Nomination Commission. Also, clarified the election process for the new Supreme Court justice.