Three lawyers have submitted applications to the Judicial Nominating Commission, seeking to fill the seat vacated by Judge Cynthia Fry at the end of 2015. Here they are in alphabetical order:
1. Stephen G. French is a an experienced and respected defense lawyer at French & Associates in Albuquerque, specializing in civil rights matters. He obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico, and his J.D. at California Western School of Law (earlier I said that he graduated from United States International University — that was the product of some misinformation on the web; my apologies to Mr. French and to my readers!).
2. Ned Fuller is the former director of the Workers’ Compensation Administration, and was the Republican nominee for the Court of Appeals in 2010 (he lost to Robert Robles). You can still see his campaign spot on YouTube. Later, Governor Martinez appointed him to the district court bench in Albuquerque, but he was defeated in the election by Judge Victor Lopez. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University, and his J.D. from Brigham Young University.
3. Julie Vargas is shareholder at the Hunt & Davis law firm in Albuquerque, and will be seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat, according to her campaign’s Facebook page. My understanding is that she has a background in commercial litigation and real estate matters. She has served on the New Mexico Disciplinary Board and the New Mexico Board of Bar Commissioners. Ms. Vargas obtained her undergraduate degree from Brown University, and her J.D. from the University of New Mexico.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at the Supreme Court Building in Santa Fe to consider the applications and interview the three applicants (you can see a list of members here). The meeting is open to the public. The Commission will then vote on which applicants to forward to Governor Martinez, who will then have 30 days to appoint one of them, or to ask that additional names be sent to her.