JUDGE MICHAEL E. VIGIL
JUDGE MICHAEL E. VIGIL
Humble beginnings and an innate understanding that discrimination and inequality were wrong helped set the stage for one of New Mexico’s most prolific attorney and judge, Judge Michael E. Vigil, to be a champion for all New Mexicans and now the Democratic nominee for the New Mexico Supreme Court.
After gradating from Santa Fe High School, Judge Vigil received a scholarship that would change his life and make receiving a degree from the College of Santa Fe a reality. Even in college, Judge Vigil had greater aspirations and a need to create a fair and just society, serving as Chief Justice of the Student Court.
Feeling compelled to create a more fair and just world Judge Vigil was accepted to the prestigious Georgetown University Law, where he would eventually serve as an editor of the Law Journal. While attending law school during the Watergate era, Judge Vigil learned first hand that the law must never surrender to mere politics and why our democracy in the United States depends on an independent judiciary. Judge Vigil returned back to Santa Fe and was selected as the first staff attorney for the New Mexico Court of Appeals pre-hearing division. During his tenure, he helped create the policies and internal structure still used
today. Wanting to put his knowledge and expertise to use, Judge Vigil left his role with the Court of Appeals after a few years and began to litigate cases in New Mexico. Whether administration, civil, or criminal, Judge Vigil tried cases throughout every sector and every region of New Mexico and was the appellate counsel in over 50 cases of first impression.
As time went on, Judge Vigil felt more and more compelled to follow in some family members footsteps and join the military. Judge Vigil joined the National Guard and during his four years served on a handful of critical missions, including the New Mexico State Penitentiary riot. After his National Guard service and 27 years as a practicing attorney, Judge Vigil was recommended by the independent bipartisan nominating commission and selected by Governor Richardson for a vacancy on the Court of Appeals in 2003.
Since taking office, Judge Vigil has heard over 3,000 cases, authored legal opinions on over 1,000, and has been independently vetted and recommended by the bipartisan commission for the last three New Mexico Supreme Court vacancies.