New Mexico Supreme Court

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
New Mexico Supreme Court
Court information
Justices:   5
Location:   Santa Fe, New Mexico
Chief:  $127,000
Associates:  $125,000
Judicial selection
Method:   Partisan election of judges
Term:   8 years
Active justices

Edward Chavez  •  Charles Daniels  •  Petra Jimenez Maes  •  Richard Bosson  •  Barbara J. Vigil  •  

Seal of New Mexico.png

The New Mexico Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state of New Mexico. The court is composed of five justices; four associate justices and one chief justice.[1]


See State Supreme Court justices.
The current justices of the court are:
JudgeTermSelected byParty
Justice Edward Chavez3/10/2003-12/31/2022Gov. Bill RichardsonDemocratic
Justice Charles Daniels2007-2018Gov. Bill RichardsonDemocratic
Chief Justice Petra Jimenez Maes1998-2018Gov. Gary E. JohnsonDemocratic
Justice Richard Bosson2002-2020Democratic
Justice Barbara J. Vigil2012-2020Democratic

Judicial selection

See Partisan election of judges.

Justices are selected by both gubernatorial commission process and partisan elections. The commission recommends to the governor several candidates, and upon appointment by the governor, the judge runs in the subsequent partisan election. To retain office, the judge must run on a nonpartisan ballot and win at least 57% of the vote.[2]


To be a qualified candidate of the supreme court, the person must be no younger than 35, must have practiced law for at least 10 years, and must have been a resident of the state for at least three years.[2]


The court may hear direct appeals in cases of life sentences or writs of habeas corpus. Additionally, all cases from the Public Regulation Commission and election challenges. "In its discretion, the Court may issue writs of certiorari, mandamus, prohibition, and superintending control."[1][2]


Fiscal Year Filings Dispositions
2014 562 533
2013 532 516
2012 597 580
2011 621 662
2010 671 749
2009 601 658
2008 701 767
2007 609 647


Political outlook

See also: Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of New Mexico was given a campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, New Mexico received a score of -1.18. Based on the justices selected, New Mexico was the most liberal court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.[5]


Financial disclosure

See also: Center for Public Integrity Study on State Supreme Court Disclosure Requirements

In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. New Mexico earned a grade of F in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.[6]

Removal of justices

To remove a justice in New Mexico, the Supreme Court may remove the judge based on the recommendation of the judicial standards commission, or a judge may be impeached by the house and convicted by the senate of the state.

Notable decisions


For a complete history of the New Mexico Supreme Court, click here.

Territorial laws

The Kearny Code of Laws of 1846 provided the territorial laws of New Mexico prior to statehood.[15]

Compiled Laws of New Mexico 1897

The Laws of 1897, Chapter XLIII, found that "There has been no legal compilation of the laws of the Territory of New Mexico since the year 1884 and the available supply of the Compiled Laws of that year and the Session Laws of 1887 and 1889 have been entirely destroyed by fire and those of other sessions of the Legislature have become practically exhausted in the hands of the Territorial Secretary and Librarian, so that to procure copies of the laws of years is attended with great expense and trouble."[15]

Supreme Court building

"The Supreme Court building"

The court meets in the Supreme Court Building in Santa Fe. The construction for the building began in 1934 and was completed in 1937 at a total cost of $307,000. This building is the only building in the state that the Public Works Administration project created and is still being used for the intended purpose. The building is registered on the Historic Santa Fe Foundation Registry, the State of New Mexico register of historic buildings, and the National Register of Historic Places.[16]

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 New Mexico Supreme Court, "Overview," accessed January 29, 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 New Mexico Secretary of State, "New Mexico Constitution: Article VI - Judicial Department," accessed January 29, 2015
  3. New Mexico Courts, "2014 Annual Report: Statistical Addendum," accessed April 7, 2015
  4. New Mexico Courts, "New Mexico State Courts Annual Reports" See: Statistical Addenda
  5. Stanford University, "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
  6. Center for Public Integrity, "State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information," December 5, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Washington Post, "New Mexico Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage," by Aaron Blake, December 19, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Griego et al. v. Oliver et. al, Supreme Court of New Mexico, December 19, 2013
  9. Fox News, "New Mexico Supreme Court: Same-Sex Marriage is Legal," December 19, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  11. NBC News, "New Mexico legalizes same-sex marriage," By Barry Massey and Russell Contreras, The Associated Press, December 19, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 The Wall Street Journal, "Photographers Discriminated Against Gay Couple, Court Rules," August 22, 2013
  13. Digital Trends, "Could expressing your religious views get you into legal trouble as a photographer?," August 26, 2013
  14. The Christian Science Monitor, "Supreme Court declines case of photographer snubbing gay ceremony," April 7, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 New Mexico Compilation Commission, "Brief History of the Compilation and Publication of New Mexico Laws," accessed January 29, 2015
  16. New Mexico Supreme Court, "Supreme Court Building," accessed January 29, 2015


JudgeElection Vote
ChavezEdward Chavez 73.2% ApprovedA


CandidateIncumbencyDivisionPrimary VoteElection Vote
VigilBarbara J. Vigil   ApprovedANo54.81%   ApprovedA
KennedyPaul Kennedy (New Mexico)    No45.19%   DefeatedD
BossonRichard Bosson   ApprovedAYes75.31%   ApprovedA


See also: 2010 State Supreme Court elections

Charles Daniels stood for retention and was retained.

New Mexico Supreme Court
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Charles Daniels Green check mark transparent.png n/a n/a

Petra Jimenez Maes stood for retention and was retained.

New Mexico Supreme Court
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Petra Jimenez Maes Green check mark transparent.png n/a n/a


See also: State Supreme Court elections, 2008

Patricio Serna stood for retention and was retained.

New Mexico Supreme Court
2008 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Patricio Serna Green check mark transparent.png n/a 75%

Charles Daniels stood for retention and was retained.

New Mexico Supreme Court
2008 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Charles Daniels Green check mark transparent.png n/a n/a
New MexicoUnited States District Court for the District of New MexicoUnited States bankruptcy court, District of New MexicoUnited States Court of Appeals for the Tenth CircuitNew Mexico Supreme CourtNew Mexico Court of AppealsNew Mexico District CourtsNew Mexico Magistrate CourtNew Mexico Municipal CourtsNew Mexico Probate CourtsNew Mexico Problem-Solving CourtsNew Mexico Workers' Compensation Administration CourtBernalillo County Metropolitan CourtNew Mexico countiesNew Mexico judicial newsNew Mexico judicial electionsJudicial selection in New MexicoNewMexicoTemplate.jpg