New Mexico’s own Judge Harris Hartz on Justice Gorsuch

In this article by Zoe Tillman of Buzzfeed, Tenth Circuit Judge Harris Hartz of New Mexico discusses Justice Neil Gorsuch and defends his record.

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Above the Law interviews New Mexico’s chief disciplinary counsel

While this blog was having technical problems, last month David Lat of Above the Law conducted this interview with William Slease, chief disciplinary counsel for the New Mexico Supreme Court, who also serves as present of the National Organization of Bar Counsel.

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Programming Note

I apologize that I haven’t posted anything here in over a month. Over the past few weeks I’ve been experiencing technical difficulties which have caused the blog to be down entirely from time to time, and which have prevented me from posting anything.

After much work on these problems, it looks like they are fixed, and I plan to begin posting here regularly soon.

Thanks for your patience!

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The investiture ceremony for Judge Henry Bohnhoff of the NM Court of Appeals will be held on March 20

An investiture ceremony for the newest member of the New Mexico Court of Appeals, Judge Henry “Hank” M. Bohnhoff, will be held on Monday, March 20, at 4:30 p.m. at the New Mexico Court of Appeals in Albuquerque.

Of course, the event is open to all. A reception will follow at Hotel Andaluz.

I hope to see you there!

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NM Supreme Court: Texas doctor’s sovereign immunity will be upheld in medical malpractice case

Yesterday, the New Mexico Supreme Court issued its decision in the closely-watched case of Montaño v. Frezza. The case arose out of medical treatment that a New Mexico resident, Kimberly Montaño, received from a physician at Texas Tech University Hospital in Lubbock. Ms. Montaño later filed suit in New Mexico alleging that he committed malpractice.

The physician argued that he would have been entitled to sovereign immunity under Texas law, and asked the New Mexico courts to extend comity to Texas’ interests, and dismiss the case. The lower courts refused.

In a 4-1 opinion written by Justice Chavez, the Court agreed with the physician, holding that it would not violate New Mexico public policy to give effect to the Texas sovereign immunity statute as a matter of comity. Justice Vigil wrote a solo dissent, arguing that New Mexico’s interest in providing relief to its residents should have overcome Texas’ interest in sovereign immunity for its employees. (Chief Judge Linda Vanzi of the Court of Appeals sat by designation in place of Chief Justice Daniels, who did not participate in the case).

You can also read about the decision in this story by Martin Salazar in the Albuquerque Journal. I have previously written about this case here, here, and here.

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Have lunch with Judge French of the NM Court of Appeals

This Friday, March 3, the Appellate Practice Section of the New Mexico State Bar is hosting a brown-bag (i.e. bring-your-own) lunch with Judge Stephen French of the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

If you have any questions about practice before our Court of Appeals, this event provides an excellent chance to ask them in an informal setting.

The lunch will begin at noon. Please RSVP to Zach Ives at if you’d like to attend.

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Sen. Udall of New Mexico floats plan to confirm both Gorsuch and Garland to SCOTUS

U.S. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico has proposed a plan to confirm both Judge Neil Gorsuch and Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court of the United States, according to this story by Ashley Killough of CNN.

Whatever its merits, this idea strikes me as … not likely to succeed.

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Investiture ceremony for Judge Julie Vargas to be held on February 17

Judge Julie Vargas
Judge Julie Vargas

The investiture ceremony for Judge Julie Vargas of the New Mexico Court of Appeals will be held tomorrow afternoon, beginning at 4:00 p.m., at the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Bank of America Theater, located at 1701 4th Street SW in Albuquerque. A reception will follow. I plan to attend, and hope to see you there!

If you would like to know more about Judge Vargas, please read my interview with her.



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Judge Linda Vanzi elected as Chief Judge of the New Mexico Court of Appeals

Today’s Bar Bulletin announces (at p. 9) that Linda Vanzi has been unanimously elected as Chief Judge of the New Mexico Court of Appeals. She replaces Judge Michael Vigil, who swore her into office on January 17.

Chief Judge Vanzi has served on the Court of Appeals since 2009. Before that, she served as a trial judge on the Second Judicial District Court. In both positions she has developed a reputation as a decisive, fair, and hard-working judge.

Congratulations to Chief Judge Vanzi!


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Roundup of links discussing the Gorsuch nomination

As you have doubtless heard by now, President Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, of our very own Tenth Circuit, to fill the Supreme Court seat held by Justice Antonin Scalia until his death last February.

About five years ago I began a practice of reading every Judge Gorsuch opinion because they are so well-written. The impression I’ve formed of him is that he’s incredibly brilliant, impartial, serious, and devoted to the Constitution.

Here’s a roundup of links about this nomination. Naturally, conservatives are more enthusiastic about Judge Gorsuch than liberals (the latter probably disagree with Judge Gorsuch’s jurisprudence, and are unhappy with how Senate Republicans treated President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland). But I’ll post links from all sides that I can find (if you know of any that I’ve missed and should include here, please e-mail me!):

Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Mark Landler of the New York Times.

Trump picks Colo. appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court by Robert Barnes of the Washington Post.

Trump nominates Gorsuch to fill Scalia vacancy by Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog.

Neil Gorsuch: A Worthy Heir to Scalia by Ramesh Ponnuru in National Review.

Donald Trump nominates Colorado’s Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court by Mark K. Matthews, John Frank, and David Migoya in the Denver Post.

Why Liberals Should Back Neil Gorsuch by Neal Katyal in the New York Times.

Neil Gorsuch Is Not a Villain by Mark Joseph Stern at

Is It Payback Time For Blocking Merrick Garland? by Kevin Drum in Mother Jones.

Neil Gorsuch, Elite Conservative by Prof. Noah Feldman at

Numerous posts about Gorsuch by Ed Whelan at National Review’s Bench Memos blog.

And here’s a list of other links of to reactions by people and organizations, in support of and opposition to the nomination, posted at SCOTUSblog.



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