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State of New Mexico

Methods of Judicial Selection: New Mexico

Selection of Judges

Number of Judgeships
Supreme Court: 5
Court of Appeals: 10
District Court: 84
Number of Districts/Circuits
Supreme Court: --
Court of Appeals: --
District Court: 13
Geographic Basis for Selection
Supreme Court: statewide
Court of Appeals: statewide
District Court: district
Method of Selection (full term)
Supreme Court: partisan election*
Court of Appeals: partisan election*
District Court: partisan election*
Length of Term
Supreme Court: remainder of unexpired term*
Court of Appeals: remainder of unexpired term*
District Court: remainder of unexpired term*
Method of Retention
Supreme Court: retention election**
Court of Appeals: retention election**
District Court: retention election**
Length of Subsequent Terms
Supreme Court: 8 yrs
Court of Appeals: 8 yrs
District Court: 6 yrs
Method of Filling Interim Vacancies
Supreme Court: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
Court of Appeals: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
District Court: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
When Interim Judges Stand for Election/Appointment
Supreme Court: next general election*
Court of Appeals: next general election*
District Court: next general election*
Selection of Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: peer vote***
Court of Appeals: peer vote
District Court: varies by district
Term of Office for Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: 2 yrs
Court of Appeals: 2 yrs
District Court: varies by district
Qualifications
Supreme Court: minimum age of 35; 10 yrs legal practice; state resident 3 yrs
Court of Appeals: minimum age of 35; 10 yrs legal practice; state resident 3 yrs
District Court: minimum age of 35; 6 yrs legal practice; state resident 3 yrs; district resident

 Selection and retention methods and term lengths are prescribed by Article VI of the New Mexico Constitution.

*All judicial vacancies are filled by the governor from a list of candidates recommended by a judicial nominating commission. The appointee must then compete in a partisan election at the next general election to serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

**Judges must receive at least 57% in affirmative votes to be retained.

***By tradition, the court elects the most senior justice who has not yet held the position.