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Chief Justice Nakamura’s still retiring, but not yet

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Judith Nakamura listens to arguments in April for and against a proposal to conduct the primary elections by mail-in ballot. (Journal)

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura still plans to retire as soon as she can but later than her previously announced date of Aug. 1.

“While representatives from the Public Employees Retirement Association and I worked closely together before I announced my retirement, new information I received from PERA yesterday requires that my retirement be postponed,” she said in a news release Friday.

“This is certainly not what I planned or expected, but I will use this additional time to continue to make the best legal decisions possible and advance the administration of justice for the benefit of all New Mexicans,” she said.

It remains unclear how much longer beyond her announced date she will be with the court. Her fellow justices will elect a new chief justice on July 15, according to the release.

She was named to the court by former Gov. Susana Martinez in November 2015 and elected chief justice in June 2017.

Nakamura, 59, made history in 2016 when she became the first female Republican to be elected to the Supreme Court. Her nomination to the court also created the first ever female majority.

She initially intended to retire June 1, but stuck around to work through the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, later settling on Aug. 1, and now sometime later.

Nakamura attended Taylor Middle School, Cibola High School and then the University of New Mexico and its school of law.

Once she is retired, she said she plans to volunteer for animal welfare organizations and continue piloting hot air balloons.

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