ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – New Mexico judges say the governor has violated their civil rights, by not giving them a huge raise.
“By vetoing the salaries, the governor exercised power that the executive branch does not possess. And ignored system of checks and balances built into our constitution,” Attorney Ray Vargas said.
Judges from magistrate, district and metro court, along with two judges associations, filed a lawsuit Monday at the New Mexico Supreme Court.
They are asking for the governor’s veto of their eight percent raise to be overturned arguing that it’s unconstitutional.
They also argue they are the lowest paid in the nation.
“We should all care because public safety and economic development depend on good judges running a court efficiently,” Vargas said. “The court system suffers and slows down every time there is turnover on the bench. As a result, community safety and business interests hurt.”
The governor’s office says the pay increase would have amounted to nearly three times the raise teachers received.
Martinez says she would have approved a more modest three percent increase for judges.