SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Patricio Serna is retiring from the state's highest court after serving 16 years.
The court on Friday announced that Serna will retire at the end of August. The vacancy gives Republican Gov. Susana Martinez her first opportunity to appoint someone to the Supreme Court.
However, the governor's appointee likely will end up serving only a short time.
The secretary of state says political parties must select nominees by Sept. 11 to appear on the general election ballot for the court position. The winner of the general election will fill the remainder of Serna's term, which runs through 2016.
Serna was elected to the Supreme Court in 1996. He served as a state district judge in Santa Fe from 1985 until joining the Supreme Court.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.