SANTA FE — The state Supreme Court isn’t quite ready yet to take up a series of cases centering on the validity of New Mexico’s anti-corruption law.
The court on Tuesday rejected certification of the four cases from the Court of Appeals, meaning they will stay with the Court of Appeals for now.
Accepting certification would have put the cases directly before the Supreme Court — a process designed to speed up legal rulings on important public policy questions.
At issue is whether the Governmental Conduct Act is too vague to be enforced and whether some parts of the law were meant to be aspirational rather mandatory.
The four cases — involving alleged violations of the Governmental Conduct Act — are now set to be decided first by the Court of Appeals, though they could eventually make their way back to the Supreme Court.
Current or former public officials charged under the act have been accused of unwanted sexual advances, interfering with a police investigation and improperly accessing tax records.
At least four criminal cases are at stake after dismissals by district judges.
Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office has argued the Government Conduct Act was always meant to be mandatory. Now his office is asking lawmakers to step in.
“Recent court rulings have gutted public corruption laws, so the Legislature must strengthen them to ensure their is no question whether the law applies,” Matt Baca, senior counsel under Balderas, said in a written statement this week.