During my tenure as NMTLA President I witnessed two historical events. The first was the election of a half-African, half-white Midwesterner, with an Arab-sounding middle name as President of the United States. The second, only seven months later is the President’s choice of a Hispanic woman, Sonia Sotomayor, to fill the United States Supreme Court vacancy. The appointment makes history because Justice Sotomayor is only the third woman to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court and she is the first judge with a Hispanic background in a country where Hispanics now make up the largest minority. Justice Sotomayor’s legal qualifications span three decades including work at almost every level of the judicial system including serving as a prosecutor, corporate litigator, trial judge, and United States Court of Appeals judge. She has more experience on the bench than anyone currently serving on the United States Supreme Court had when they were appointed. What makes this story fascinating is her uniquepersonal story of growing up in Bronx government projects raised by a single mother who worked two jobs to provide opportunities for her children. Justice Sotomayor graduated summa cum lade from Princeton and served as editor of the Yale Law Journal. Sounds like an American dream. I believe that this inspiring woman with such depth of experience and breadth of perspective will bring additional value to the Supreme Court.
At the time I submitted my last article the session was still in full swing. I think most of us have recovered by now but I wanted to thank all those who worked so hard during this last session. Of course, Peter Mallery and David Duhigg, who work all year round preparing for what we will face during the session. Pia Salazar who is our President elect did a wonderful job of organizing bill analysis. Hats off to the bill analyzers Paul Abrams, Steve Aguilar, David Archuleta, Ahmad Assed, Karen Aubrey, Theodore Barudin, Lori Bencoe, David Berardinelli, Sam Bregman, Carl Bettinger, Dick Blenden, Kristina Bogardus, Scott Borg, Arthur Bova, Margaret Branch, Turner Branch, Cynthia Braun, Barbara Buck, JD Bullington, William Carpenter, Patrick Casey, Gregory Chase, Randy Clark, Jeffrey Cluff, Greig Coates, Nancy Cronin, Katie Curry, Veronica Dorato, Michael Doyle, David Duhigg, Stephen Durkovich, Roger Eaton, Daymon Ely, Josh Ewing, Steve Ewing, Steven Farber, Richard Feferman, William Ferguson, David Fine, Philip Gaddy, Jane Gagne, Pia Gallegos, David Garcia, Douglas Gardner, Kyle Gesswein, James Gilman, Joseph Goldberg, W. Hal Grieg, Gerald Hanrahan, Richard Hardy, Michael Hart, Dusti Harvey, Rachel Higgins, Corbin Hildebrandt, Lee Hunt, Mac Hunt, David Jaramillo, Mark Jarner, Tammy Jasionowski, Eric Sedillo Jeffries, William Keeler, Joseph Kennedy, Shannon Kennedy, Chris Key, Randy Knudson, Cherie LaCour, Stephen Lawless, Pierre Levy, Mike Lilley, Anthony Lopez, Cid Lopez, Kathy Love, Amalia Lucero, Randi McGinn, Edwin Macy, Peter Mallery, Ganesha Martin, David Martinez, Kevin Martinez, Richard Martinez, Carolyn Merchant, Elicia Montoya, Ron Morgan, Dennis Murphy, Steven Murphy, Olivia Neidhardt, Joel Newton, Dan O’Friel, Justin Pennington, Brady Pofahl, Victor Poulos, Bryan Query, Feliz Rael, Sam Rasheed, Lisa Richard, Linda Rios, James Roach, Bill Robins, Geoff Romero, Mike Ross, Robert Rothstein, Victor Roybal, Pia Salazar, Benito Sanchez, Maureen Sanders, Janet Santillanes, Joseph Sapien, Phillip Sapien, Devi Maria Schmidt, Fred Sherman, Bob Scott, Dan Shapiro, William Snead, David Stout, Mark Stout, Michael Stout, Patrick Sullivan, Bruce Thompson, Victor Titus, Mia Touchet, Gabrielle Valdez, Richard Valle, Matthew Vance, Ray Vargas, Donald Vigil, Douglas Vigil, Lisa Vigil, Steve Vogel, Scott Voorhees, Roger Wagman, Derek Weems, George Weeth, Duff Westbrook, John Westerman, Peter White, Terry Word, Joleen Youngers and Diego Zamora. Our great appreciation to those boots/heels on the ground who showed up and waited and waited to speak to the legislators Lori Bencoe, Kristina Bogardus, Nancy Cronin, David Duhigg, Steve Durkovich, Josh Ewing, Steve Ewing, David Garcia, Dana Grubesic, Lee Hunt, David Jaramillo, Tammy Jasionowski, Mike Lilley, Anthony Lopez, Kathy Love, Peter Mallery, Ganesha Martin, Steve Moffit, Elicia Montoya, Dennis Montoya, Ron Morgan, Feliz Rael, Pia Salazar, Bob Scott, William Snead, David Stout, Patrick Sullivan, Ray Vargas, Lisa Vigil, John V. Wertheim, Peter White, Terry Word and Diego Zamora. Thank those who wrote letters and sent e-mails. Thank those legislators who are champions ensuring that the rights of everyday NewMexicans are vigilantly guarded.
Other legal organizations are amazed at our collegiality, efficiency and effectiveness. When I read this list of caring and committed individuals I am not surprised at the difference we make implementing positive change for people in New Mexico, including promoting justice and fairness for injured persons, defending the constitutional right to trial by jury, and strengthening the civil justice system through education and disclosure of information critical to public health and safety.
It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve as the 2008-2009 NMTLA President for the sixty day session. I would not have been able to serve effectively if not for my partner Angel Saenz and my legal assistant Krista Ross holding down the fort, Karen and Steve Durkovich’s hospitality of providing a beautiful, comfortable home away from home and a lot of help from my friends – Lisa Vigil, Pia Salazar, David Jaramillo, David Duhigg and Peter Mallery thanks for always being one step, one text or one phone call away (ok Duhigg does not text).
Pia, I know you will do a wonderful job as President. We will all be here for you next year.
Denise M. Torres