Federal Court Judge Candidates Have UNM Law Ties

Santiago E. Campos U.S. Courthouse
Santiago E. Campos U.S. Courthouse

U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall (`77) have identified five candidates, all with ties to the University of New Mexico School of Law, for an upcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. They have sent the names to President Obama for his consideration.

The successful candidate will replace Chief Judge Bruce D. Black, who is retiring after 17 years.

The candidates are:

Norman Bay
Norman Bay was a member of the UNM School of Law faculty from 2002-2009. He taught criminal law, evidence, and constitutional law. He left the school to become director of the Enforcement Office at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Bay was U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico from 2000-2001.

Judge Carmen Garza (`86)
Carmen Garza has been a U.S. Magistrate judge in Las Cruces since 2006. Previously, she was in private practice. She was an assistant public defender for the State of New Mexico from 1986-1989.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales (`94)
Kenneth Gonzales serves as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico. Prior to his appointment in 2010, he spent more than 10 years as an assistant U.S. Attorney in both the Las Cruces and Albuquerque offices. He also is an adjunct professor in the U.S. Army Reserves, where he teaches criminal law at the Judge Advocate General Legal Center & School.  

Andrew Schultz (`84)
Andy Schultz is a director in the Rodey Law Firm and heads the firm’s complex and commercial litigation group. After earning his J.D., he clerked for Justice Byron White from 1985-1986, distinguishing himself as the only graduate of the UNM School of Law to have served as a clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Linda Vanzi (`95)
Linda Vanzi has been a New Mexico Court of Appeals judge since 2008. Previous, she was a judge in the Second Judicial District. She has been a member of the adjunct faculty at the UNM School of Law and worked in private practice. Her work as a lawyer mainly focused on civil rights, labor and employment law, personal injury, child abuse and neglect and commercial law.

“Judge Black has served New Mexico and the judiciary very well, and will be very hard to replace. But I believe we have identified several excellent candidates for President Obama to consider,” Bingaman said.

"Judge Black's successor will preside over important border-related cases on issues like immigration, gun trafficking and drug smuggling," said Udall. "After numerous interviews and much deliberation I am confident that we have presented President Obama with a strong group of candidates to fill the position." 

 Once the president has made his nomination, that candidate will have a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The final step is a vote in the U.S. Senate.

September 12, 2012