Justice Judith K. Nakamura retired in December 2020 after a 22 year career in the New Mexico judiciary that included serving as Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. She obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1989. In 1998 after practicing in both the public and private sectors, she successfully ran for a position on the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court where she served for fifteen years, including eleven years as the Court's Chief Judge. Her efforts as chief judge to improve court processes and implement programs to better serve the public received both local and national attention. During her tenure on the court, she was named Judge of the Year by the Albuquerque Bar Association, received the University of New Mexico's Zia Award recognizing distinguished alumni, and was the recipient of the National Mother's Against Drunk Driving President's Award for her efforts to implement Court programs reducing recidivisim.
Justice Nakamura was appointed to the Bernalillo County District Court in 2013 and presided over criminal cases until December 2015 when she was appointed to the Supreme Court of New Mexico. Her appointment gave the Court its first female majority. She was elected to serve as Chief Justice by her colleagues and was sworn in on June 7, 2017 becoming only the fourth woman to serve as Chief Justice in the Court's 108-year history.
Justice Nakamura serves on the Board of the National Courts and Sciences. She served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Conference of Chief Justice's National Opioid Task Force and as Second Vice President of the Conference. She is an member of the University of New Mexico's Alumni Board, an avid hot air balloon pilot and a member of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta's Board of Directors.