NAME: Julie J. Vargas
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
OCCUPATION: Associate justice, New Mexico Supreme Court
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: I’m a native New Mexican, born and raised in Old Town Albuquerque, where I still live. Before winning a seat on the Court of Appeals in 2016, I spent 23 years representing every day New Mexicans and New Mexico small businesses in business and commercial litigation matters. As a lawyer, I mentored other lawyers through their ethical dilemmas as a member, and then co-chair, of the State Bar’s Ethics Advisory Committee. I also served for several years as a member of the Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board, recommending discipline for lawyers who violated their clients’ trust. As a member of the Court of Appeals I decided hundreds of cases in all areas of the law. I’ve spent the last 21 months as a member of the Supreme Court, deciding all matter of cases and working to more efficiently administer our state courts.
EDUCATION: Brown University, 1986-1990, AB in history and English literature; University of New Mexico School of Law, 1990-1993, J.D.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: KeepJusticeVargas.com
MAJOR PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT: My appointment to the Supreme Court and the work I’ve done while serving on the Court is my most significant professional accomplishment, followed by my election to the Court of Appeals and the opinions I wrote while on that court. In addition to the opportunity to apply the law, my position on the Supreme Court gives me the opportunity to make improvements to our local community. As a member of the court, I’ve continued my work to improve lawyers’ professional responsibilities to their clients and to the integrity of the system, acting as liaison to the Board of Bar Examiners and Disciplinary Board. The Court has also taken steps to alleviate homelessness, while making landlords whole with its eviction diversion program and to address mental and behavioral health issues in our justice system with the newly created mental health commission. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to do this work.
MAJOR PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT: I am proud of the contributions I’ve been able to make to my community over the years. While attending college in New England, I recognized what a special place New Mexico is and decided that it was important to come back to New Mexico and use my skills here in New Mexico. In addition to the more than 20 years I spent working to improve our legal system before joining the bench with the State Bar’s Ethics Advisory Committee, the Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board and several State Bar committees, I volunteered with several local organizations to do what I could to improve the lives of my fellow New Mexicans. I served on the board of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation where I worked to bring new and innovative science exhibits to the museum for our kids. I volunteered with the New Mexico Special Olympics to plan a fundraising event and even rappelled down a 16-story building to raise money for the organization. I helped the Children’s Cancer Fund of New Mexico with its development of Erin’s Place, a “home away from home” for children from other parts of the state who are receiving cancer treatment or hospice care. I also served as part of the organizing committee for the Run for the Zoo. All of these activities gave me an opportunity to leave my community better than I found it — something I strive for in my position as a Supreme Court Justice, as well.
Why are you running and what strengths would you bring to the judiciary?
I want to continue to work for my community. I am the most experienced candidate having practiced for 23 years and decided hundreds of cases in every area of law on the Court of Appeals. Further, my commitment to improving the legal system is evident from my volunteer activities as a lawyer.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state?