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Former district judge challenging new appointee for Supreme Court seat

Shannon Bacon, left, and Ned Fuller are running for the state Supreme Court

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

A Farmington prosecutor and one-time state district court judge is up against a newcomer to the Supreme Court in a race for a seat on the state’s highest court.

Republican Ned Fuller, who now works in the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Farmington, is challenging incumbent Supreme Court Justice Shannon Bacon in next month’s general election.

Bacon, a Democrat, was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in January 2019 and must now run in the general election to keep her seat. Before that she was a judge in the 2nd Judicial District Court starting in 2010.

Bacon said she has enjoyed her brief time working as a collaborator on the Supreme Court, which she says is different from working “as a decider of one” as a district court judge.

“It’s quite the humbling experience because the breadth of the work of the Supreme Court is so big,” Bacon said.

Bacon was born and raised in Albuquerque and attended St. Pius X High School. Coming out of law school at Creighton University, she worked as a clerk in the state Court of Appeals for two years. She then went into private practice until 2010 doing commercial litigation.

She says working for almost a decade as a state district court judge gives her valuable insight into what’s happening in lower courts.

“I have more than 10 years in the judiciary, so that gives me a real in-depth understanding of what happens at the trial court level.”

Fuller was appointed to the 2nd Judicial District Court in 2014 but lost his seat in the general election later that year.

His résumé includes work as a lawyer and as an administrator. He was the secretary of the state General Services Department under former Gov. Susana Martinez, and was also the director of the state Workers’ Compensation Administration. He also worked in private practice for about 13 years.

A native of Arizona, Fuller earned his law degree from Brigham Young University after doing missionary work in Japan. He has lived in New Mexico for 27 years with his wife, Julie Jensen, who is from Los Alamos.

Fuller said his philosophy of not injecting politics into the judicial system should give him the edge for voters.

“I think it’s important for judges to follow the law and not rewrite the law,” he said.

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