Court rejects challenge to Justice Nakamura’s appointment to NM Supreme Court

According to this story by Phaedra Haywood in the Santa Fe New Mexican, state district court judge David Thomson dismissed disbarred lawyer Stuart Stein’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Justice Nakamura’s appointment to the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Mr. Stein’s complaint alleged that the appointment was unconstitutional because the Judicial Nominating Commission met before Justice Bosson actually left office, thereby contradicting a section of the New Mexico Constitution which provides that the Commission may meet only after an “actual vacancy” occurs.

The Attorney General’s office argued (as I did in this earlier post) that the New Mexico Constitution also contains other provisions, such as that which allows the Governor to appoint someone to fill an “impending vacancy,” which make it sufficiently clear that the Commission may meet and select candidates for the Governor’s consideration before an appellate justice or judge leaves office.

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