Judith Nakamura is Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. Justice Nakamura was appointed to the New Mexico Supreme Court in November 2015 after being recommended by a nonpartisan Judicial Nominating Commission. She was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice in December 2015. She was selected by her fellow Justices in 2017 to serve as Chief Justice beginning on June 7, 2017. From February 2013 until joining the high court, she presided over criminal cases as a District Court Judge in the Second Judicial District. Justice Nakamura served our community for more than 14 years as a Judge in the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, having been elected to that position in November 1998. While serving on the Metropolitan Court, she was elected by her peers to serve four terms as the Court’s Chief Judge. In addition to managing a heavy case load, she was responsible for overseeing the Court’s day to day operations.
Justice Nakamura obtained her undergraduate and law degree from the University of New Mexico. After law school, she served as an Assistant Land Commissioner and General Counsel to the New Mexico Land Office. Prior to her judicial service, she spent most of her legal career in private practice.
In December 2004, Justice Nakamura was named Judge of the Year by the Albuquerque Bar Association. In September 2006, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers recognized her at its national convention with the President’s Award for Judge of the Year due to her efforts in the establishment of the Enhanced DWI First Offender’s program at the Metropolitan Court. The program has been credited with reducing recidivism. She has also been presented with the University of New Mexico Alumni Association’s Zia Award given to recognize UNM alumni who have distinguished themselves in our community.
Justice Nakamura is an avid hot air balloon pilot who is a volunteer member of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s Board of Directors.