2022 SUPREME COURT VOTER'S GUIDE

At the New Mexico Business Coalition, we understand that it’s important that each voter is educated in every election, so they can be well-informed, and vote correctly- the person and their positions are more important than the party.

We believe that a strong judge makes rulings based on the United States Constitution, ensuring that everyone has their due process rights and that civil liberties & human rights laws protect them. A non-partisan judge, standing on the Constitution as a basis for all rulings are exactly what we’re after, here at NMBC.

Additionally, it’s important that voter’s are careful who they vote for as decisions made by judges serving on NM Supreme Court and Court of Appeals affect everything from employment issues to defining birth and marriage. So at NMBC, we encourage all voters to look at the qualifications, experience, and stated positions of each candidate, not their party affiliation.

SUPREME COURT POSITION 1

Thomas Montoya (R)
Julie Vargas (D)

QUALIFICATIONS

  • University of Southern California Law Center – 1978
  • Stanford University – 1974
  • Bar Admissions: New Mexico, 1981
  • Brown University– 1990
  • UNM School of Law– 1993
  • Bar Admissions: New Mexico, 1993

EXPERIENCE

  • Practiced law for 40 years
  • U.S. Federal Court Bar Admission, 1985
  • Obtained sponsors for over 30 statutory enactments in family law
  • Practiced Law for 23 years
  • Served in the NM Supreme Court since 2020
  • Started as a judge on the NM Court of Appeals in 2016

POSITIONS

“At the heart of the law is righteousness, which includes justice, fairness, equity, and equality, but righteousness is much more than these. Righteousness is the spirit of the law, which rejoices when goodness triumphs, and grieves when wrongness is not remedied. I want what is right under our Constitution and our laws to govern in our country and our beautiful state.”

Vote for Thomas C. Montoya

“Julie is well known and respected throughout the legal community for her work advising and training lawyers to comply with their ethical responsibilities and holding her fellow attorneys accountable when they failed to meet those responsibilities. She has dedicated her career to the administration of equal justice in our legal system.”

Keep Justice Vargas

SOURCES

SUPREME COURT POSITION 2

Kerry Morris (R)
Briana Zamora (D)

QUALIFICATIONS

  • UNM School of Law – 1981
  • University of New Mexico– 1977
  • Bar Admissions: New Mexico, 1981
  • NMSU– Bachelor’s degree
  • UNM School of Law– 2000
  • Bar Admissions: New Mexico, 2000

EXPERIENCE

  • Practiced law since 1981
  • Second Judicial District, Assistant District Attorney, 1982
  • Over 41 years of Law experience in his own law firm in New Mexico
  • Has been a judge since 2009
  • Presided over 20,000 cases, nearly 150 jury trials on criminal charges
  • Served in the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, Second Judicial District Court, the NM Court of Appeals, and the NM Supreme Court

POSITIONS

“Kerry understands the issues facing most people and the need for a Supreme Court that is equipped with the experience to address the issues presented in cases that come before it with a balanced consideration of the rights and interests of the parties and all concerned; a court that is willing to uphold the Constitution and prepared to look at all sides of an issue before rendering what may be a far-reaching decision that affects the lives of all who live in the state of New Mexico.”

Kerry J. Morris for New Mexico 

“Briana has dedicated her career to public service because she understands the human impact that judicial rulings have for all New Mexicans across our great state. She is committed to improving our community through her continued public service and dedication to our justice system.”

Keep Justice Zamora

SOURCES

COURT OF APPEALS POSITION 1

Gerald Baca (D)

QUALIFICATIONS

  • NM Highlands University– 1983
  • UNM School of Law– 1987

EXPERIENCE

  • Practiced private law for 25 years 
  • Was the Assistant District Attorney in the First Judicial District
  • Then served as Chief Deputy District Attorney for the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office

POSITION

UNKNOWN (No statements given on website or online)

SOURCES

Sophie Cooper (L)

QUALIFICATIONS

  • University of Chicago– 1973
  • American University (D.C.)– 1989
  • Bar Admissions: New Mexico, 1989

EXPERIENCE

  • Practiced law for 33 years

POSITION

UNKNOWN (Not much is known about this candidate online, no website, no statements)

SOURCES

Barbara V. Johnson (R)

QUALIFICATIONS

  • University of New Mexico– 1983
  • UNM School of Law– 1988
  • Bar Admission: New Mexico, 1988

EXPERIENCE

  • Practiced law since 1988 
  • Past Chair of the Family Law Section of the state bar

POSITION

“Barbara is a strong proponent of keeping politics out of the courtroom. She believes political interference prevents judges from doing their job to the best of their abilities and, should she be elected to the New Mexico Court of Appeals, she will work hard to ensure that no decisions are made based on the will of a political party or politician.”

-Law Not Politics

SOURCES

COURT OF APPEALS POSITION 2

Stephen Curtis (L)

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Northwestern University– 1971
  • University of Virginia (Law)– 1978
  • Bar Association: New Mexico, Arizona- 1978

EXPERIENCE

  • Practiced law for over 42 years
  • Has had his own firm since 1991
  • Admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984, the U.S. District Court (Arizona) in 1995 and the U.S. Court of Appeals (Tenth Circuit) in 1981

POSITIONS

UNKNOWN (No statements given online, has no website)

SOURCES

Gertrude Lee (R)

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Creighton University– 2006
  • University of New Mexico– 2009
  • Licensing– 2010

EXPERIENCE

  • Practiced law for 12 years
  • Served in the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, (Division 2) as an Associate Trial Attorney in 2010 and Deputy District Attorney
  • Became a Chief Prosecutor (Navajo Nation) in 2016
 

POSITIONS

“I am running for the Court of Appeals because I have devoted my legal career to public service and I take true enjoyment in legal research and writing. My strength is my ability to bring a different perspective to the court as a Navajo trial attorney born and raised in rural New Mexico with experience in both state and tribal court.”

ABQ Journal Interview

SOURCES

Katherine Wray (D)

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Pennsylvania State University– 1999
  • UNM School of Law– 2007
  • Bar Admission– 2007

EXPERIENCE

  • Practiced law for 15 years
  • Served on NM Court of Appeals since 2021
  • Served as a contractor on the 2nd Judicial District Court.

POSITIONS

UNKNOWN (No statements given on website or online)

SOURCES