Supreme Court honors retired Justice Chavez - Albuquerque Journal

Supreme Court honors retired Justice Chavez

Retired New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Edward Chavez listens to arguments in Santa Fe in April 2020. He was honored recently by the Supreme Court for his 15 years of service on the court. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Retired New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Edward Chávez received a distinctive honor when justices dedicated the court’s robing room to him and published a volume of opinions he wrote during 15 years on the state’s highest court.

The robing room – now called the Edward L. Chávez Robing Room – is a chamber where justices gather before and after hearing oral arguments in the courtroom. It contains a conference area where justices deliberate.

Justices dedicated the robing room and unveiled the commemorative volume at a ceremony in July. Chávez and his wife, Sandra, were not informed in advance about the ceremony.

The commemorative volume includes about a quarter of the more than 200 opinions Chávez wrote as a justice. It includes a 2013 opinion granting the right of marriage to same-sex couples.

“All rights, protections, and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally to both same-gender and opposite-gender married couples,” Chávez wrote in the 31-page opinion.

The volume will be kept in the University of New Mexico School of Law library, the Supreme Court Law Library and the Supreme Court clerk’s office.

“I appreciate the kind and generous gesture by the justices, and am honored to have the robing room bear my name,” said Chávez, who served on the court from 2003 to 2018. He was chief justice from 2007 to 2010.

“The robing room is where we don our robes to symbolize the independence of the judiciary, and a judge’s fidelity to the rule of law and equal justice for all,” Chávez said.

A Santa Fe native, Chávez earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University in 1978 and a law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1981.

“Justice Chávez is the definition of professionalism, collegiality and diligence,” Chief Justice C. Shannon Bacon said. “Dedicating the robing room in his honor is a wonderful reminder to the Court of these qualities each time we hold oral argument.”

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