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New Mexico vets applicants for Supreme Court vacancies

SANTA FE, N.M. — Candidates to replace two retired members of the New Mexico Supreme Court by appointment of the governor are being vetted by a nominating commission.

The nominating commission interviewed candidates and heard public comments Thursday at the Supreme Court. Applicants include former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, Administrative Office of the Courts Director Arthur Pepin and several state district court judges.

Once nominations are made, Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will appoint replacements for recently retired Justices Charles Daniels and Petra Maes. The appointed justices will stand for election in 2020 to serve out the remainder of terms that end in 2026.

Democratic Justice Michael Vigil won election to the state’s highest court in November against a Republican incumbent. Vigil joined Justices Judith Nakamura and Barbara Vigil.