The decision by the Democratic Party hierarchy to select Barbara J. Vigil as the party’s candidate to fill the vacancy on the New Mexico State Supreme Court could not be more wrong.
In the past, the decisions made by Judge Vigil could be revisited and reversed by a higher court. The decisions made by the state supreme court are essentially the law of the land, and it would take a lot more effort and energy to reverse any ill-conceived rulings of which she is a part.
Vigil has not shown the depth and breadth of thinking needed by a justice of the state supreme court. As the Chief Justice of the First Judicial District Court that is based in Santa Fe, she is essentially an administrator of the court. Her decisions that concerned the operation of the court and the staff, especially in the Tierra Amarilla region, revealed the vast inadequacy in her decision-making experience and ability.
Like many of her courtroom decisions, her administrative decisions show a “let them eat cake” attitude. This exposes shallowness in her manner and a detachment from the people and the culture of New Mexico that is absolutely requisite for any justice on the New Mexico State Supreme Court.
Javier Gonzales and the Democratic Party leadership have let us New Mexicans down in the past with the nominations of Ben Ray Luján, Eric Serna, Mary Herrera and Jerome Block, all of whom have either underperformed or brought embarrassment to the party and the state. The nomination of Vigil can only prove to be even more disastrous, especially if she is elected, because the position of New Mexico State Supreme Court Justice involves the whole state and the effect of the decisions made are generational in their impact.
All of us who have been life-long Democrats have recently voted for Republican candidates. If the Democratic Party will not revisit and undo this decision, it might be best for all New Mexicans to consider Paul Kennedy, the candidate selected by the Republican Party on Sept. 6, as a potential option. We don’t want to hear that they can’t do this because we know that they can.
Phil Maestas and Betty Hass
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