SENATE BILL 1075
48th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2007
Michael S. Sanchez
RELATING TO JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS; REQUIRING THAT JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSIONS RECOMMEND TO THE GOVERNOR THE NAMES OF AT LEAST TWO QUALIFIED PERSONS FOR APPOINTMENT TO JUDICIAL OFFICE PURSUANT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF NEW MEXICO; DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
Section 1. LEGISLATIVE PURPOSE.--It is the intent of the legislature by passage of this 2007 act to set forth guidelines for the nomination and appointment of judges to fill judicial vacancies consistent with Article 6, Sections 35 through 37 of the constitution of New Mexico, which vest judicial nominating commissions with the authority to evaluate and make recommendations of the names of persons to the governor and vest the governor with the authority to select an individual to fill the vacancy by appointing one of the persons nominated by a judicial nominating commission.
Section 2. JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSIONS DEFINED.--As used in this 2007 act, "judicial nominating commissions" means the appellate judges nominating commission, the district court judges nominating committee and the metropolitan court judges nominating committee created by Article 6, Sections 35 through 37 of the constitution of New Mexico.
Section 3. JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSIONS RECOMMENDATIONS--MINIMUM NUMBER REQUIRED.--
A. To fulfill the intent and purpose of the constitution of New Mexico and to preserve the governor's discretion in the exercise of the governor's power of appointment, judicial nominating commissions shall follow the requirements set forth in this 2007 act so that the commissions recommend by a majority to the governor the names of at least two qualified persons for judicial office.
B. Judicial nominating commissions shall submit to the governor a list of at least two names of persons qualified for judicial office and recommended for appointment pursuant to their nominating responsibilities provided in Article 6, Sections 35 through 37 of the constitution of New Mexico and the provisions of this 2007 act. A list of nominees submitted to the governor by a judicial nominating commission shall not be valid unless a majority of the members of the commission concurs.
C. Judicial nominating commissions shall actively solicit applications from qualified lawyers by recruitment, public notice and advertisement; provided that a commission may commence solicitation and recruitment efforts prior to an actual vacancy and shall continue actively to solicit applications from qualified persons until the commission is able to recommend to the governor the names of at least two qualified persons prior to the expiration of the thirty-day time period provided in Article 6, Sections 35 through 37 of the constitution of New Mexico. In order to obtain the best qualified persons as nominees, judicial nominating commissions shall not limit their consideration of potential nominees to those persons whose names have been submitted to them or who have expressed a willingness to serve.
D. If at any time a judicial nominating commission believes that it is unable to recommend to the governor two or more names of qualified applicants by a majority, the commission shall immediately continue actively to solicit applications from qualified persons until the commission is able to recommend to the governor the names of at least two qualified persons prior to the expiration of the thirty-day time period provided in Article 6, Sections 35 through 37 of the constitution of New Mexico.
Section 4. JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSIONS--NOMINATIONS--ADDITIONAL NAMES--APPOINTMENT.--
A. Immediately after receiving the list of the names of qualified persons, the governor may make one request of a judicial nominating commission for the submission of additional names pursuant to Article 6, Sections 35 through 37 of the constitution of New Mexico. In evaluating the governor's request, the commission may actively solicit additional applications and shall give due consideration to each application.
B. The governor shall fill a vacancy or appoint a successor to fill an impending vacancy within thirty days after receiving a list of final nominations from a judicial nominating commission by appointing to the judicial office one of the persons recommended to the governor by the commission.
Section 5. APPLICABILITY.--The provisions of this act shall apply to all vacant judicial positions for which the judicial nominating commissions submit nominations to the governor, including any vacant positions pending on the effective date of this act.
Section 6. EMERGENCY.--It is necessary for the public peace, health and safety that this act take effect immediately.
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