SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 1
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024
Katy M. Duhigg
ENDORSED BY THE COURTS, CORRECTIONS AND JUSTICE COMMITTEE
A JOINT RESOLUTION
PROPOSING TO AMEND ARTICLE 6, SECTION 35 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF NEW MEXICO BY REPLACING THE DEAN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO SCHOOL OF LAW AS CHAIR OF THE APPELLATE JUDGES NOMINATING COMMISSION WITH THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OR THE CHIEF JUSTICE'S DESIGNEE AND ADDING AN ADDITIONAL MEMBER OF THE SUPREME COURT TO THE COMMISSION.
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. It is proposed to amend Article 6, Section 35 of the constitution of New Mexico to read:
"A. There is created the "appellate judges nominating commission", consisting of:
(1) the chief justice of the supreme court or the chief justice's designee, [from] who shall be a justice or retired justice of the supreme court, shall serve as chair of the commission and shall vote only in the event of a tie vote;
(2) a member of the supreme court designated by the chief justice;
(3) two judges of the court of appeals appointed by the chief judge of the court of appeals;
(4) six members of the public, two appointed by each of the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives and the president pro tempore of the senate [shall each appoint two persons], one of whom shall be an attorney licensed to practice law in this state and the other who shall be a citizen who is not licensed to practice law in any state; [the dean of the university of New Mexico school of law, who shall serve as chair of the commission and shall vote only in the event of a tie vote] and
(5) four members of the state bar of New Mexico, representing civil and criminal prosecution and defense, appointed by the president of the state bar and the judges on the commission.
B. The appointments shall be made in such manner that each of the two largest major political parties, as defined by the Election Code, shall be equally represented on the commission. If necessary, the president of the state bar and the judges on the commission shall make the minimum number of additional appointments of members of the state bar as is necessary to make each of the two largest major political parties be equally represented on the commission. These additional members of the state bar shall be appointed such that the diverse interests of the state bar are represented. The [dean of the university of New Mexico school of law] chair of the commission shall be the final arbiter of whether such diverse interests are represented. Members of the commission shall be appointed for terms as may be provided by law. If a position on the commission becomes vacant for any reason, the successor shall be selected by the original appointing authority in the same manner as the original appointment was made and shall serve for the remainder of the term vacated.
C. The commission shall actively solicit, accept and evaluate applications from qualified lawyers for the position of justice of the supreme court or judge of the court of appeals and may require an applicant to submit any information it deems relevant to the consideration of the application.
D. Upon the occurrence of an actual vacancy in the office of justice of the supreme court or judge of the court of appeals, the commission shall meet within thirty days and within that period submit to the governor the names of persons qualified for the judicial office and recommended for appointment to that office by a majority of the commission.
E. Immediately after receiving the commission nominations, the governor may make one request of the commission for submission of additional names, and the commission shall promptly submit such additional names if a majority of the commission finds that additional persons would be qualified and recommends those persons for appointment to the judicial office. The governor shall fill a vacancy or appoint a successor to fill an impending vacancy in the office of justice of the supreme court or judge of the court of appeals within thirty days after receiving final nominations from the commission by appointing one of the persons nominated by the commission for appointment to that office. If the governor fails to make the appointment within that period or from those nominations, the appointment shall be made from those nominations by the chief justice or the acting chief justice of the supreme court. The person appointed shall serve until the first general election following one year after appointment. The appointee's successor shall be chosen at such election and shall hold the office until the expiration of the term in effect at the time of election."
SECTION 2. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the next general election or at any special election prior to that date that may be called for that purpose.
- 4 -