ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved the nomination of U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales as New Mexico’s next federal judge, making him eligible for confirmation by the full Senate.
New Mexico’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats, applauded the vote.
“Ken has served the people of New Mexico and our country exceptionally well, showing strong judgment and knowledge in his previous civilian and military positions,” Sen. Tom Udall said. “I have no doubt he will continue doing so as a U.S. District Court Judge, and I hope the full Senate approves his nomination quickly so he can begin work in the new role.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich said he will make a great addition to the federal bench.
“Ken’s long and distinguished career as a federal prosecutor and commitment to public service demonstrate his character, intellect, and dedication to the people of New Mexico. ”
Gonzales was appointed to replace retiring U.S. District Judge Bruce Black of Santa Fe. But the seat will be moved to Las Cruces because of high caseloads in southern New Mexico.
Gonzales has served as U.S. attorney since 2010. Before that, he spent 11 years working as an assistant U.S. attorney.
A graduate of the University of New Mexico law school, he began his legal career as a clerk for Joseph Baca, chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court.
No floor vote on his confirmation has been scheduled.