M. Christina Armijo
M. Christina Armijo
|Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico|
|Assumed office |
February 7, 2018
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico|
October 1, 2012 – February 7, 2018
|Preceded by||Bruce D. Black|
|Succeeded by||William Paul Johnson|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico|
November 12, 2001 – February 7, 2018
|Appointed by||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Seat established by 114 Stat. 2762|
|Succeeded by||seat vacant|
|Born||1951 (age 67–68)|
Las Vegas, New Mexico
|Education||University of New Mexico (B.A.)|
University of New Mexico School of Law (J.D.)
Maria Christina Armijo (born 1951) is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico.
Early life and education
Born in Las Vegas, New Mexico, Armijo graduated from the University of New Mexico with her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972 and later from University of New Mexico School of Law with a Juris Doctor in 1975. Armijo's grandfather was a well-known figure in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He served as the District Attorney and then became one of the longest serving judges in the history of New Mexico, serving in the Fourth Judicial District of New Mexico more than 35 years until his death.
Armijo was a staff attorney of Sandoval County Legal Services, New Mexico from 1976 to 1978 where she served, among others, indigent Native Americans. She was in private practice in New Mexico from 1978 to 1996. In 1996, Armijo was appointed by Governor Gary Johnson to the New Mexico Court of Appeals. Following her appointment, she won election to the seat, making her one of only a handful of Republicans to win a statewide judicial office in New Mexico, and the first Latina to serve as an appellate judge in New Mexico. While serving on the Court of Appeals, Judge Armijo authored more than 50 opinions and participated in many more. Judge Armijo's service on the Court of Appeals ended in November 2001 when she was appointed to the United States District Court.
Federal judicial career
In 2001, Armijo was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico by President George W. Bush on September 4, 2001 to a new seat created by 114 Stat. 2762. Armijo was confirmed by the Senate on November 6, 2001 on a Senate vote and received her commission on November 12, 2001. She became Chief Judge of the court on October 1, 2012. As Chief Judge, she received praise for steering the court through the federal budget sequestration that struck shortly after she became chief. Under her leadership, the court also worked cooperatively to consolidated the federal bankruptcy court into the Domenici federal courthouse, reportedly saving taxpayers roughly $1 million per year. During her tenure as chief, the U.S. District Court filled eight full-time and part-time magistrate judge positions. One important initiative by Armijo is reaching out to young people to help them understand the court system and to foster an interest in the study of law and the legal system. She assumed senior status on February 7, 2018.
Judge Armijo has been known to call out improper behavior in attorneys appearing before her and, according to the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, tends to be well prepared for hearings and expects attorneys to be prepred as well.
During her time as a federal judge, Armijo has also demonstrated a strong interest in historical research. In 2012, she published in the New Mexico Law Review an article about the first and only woman to be subjected to capital punishment in New Mexico in 1861. In 2017, Judge Armijo presented the U.S. Senator Dennis Chavez Lecture at the University of New Mexico School of Law. This endowed lecture was established to celebrate and further Senator Chavez's legacy on civil rights and civil liberties. Chavez, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1935 until his death in 1962, was the first native born Hispanic senator in the history of the United States. Judge Armijo's lecture focused on the various ideals of citizenship, including its status as entailing not only sacred rights but also responsibilities. She focused on the importance of equal rights among citizens. She highlighted efforts of Senator Chavez to advocate for equal rights of military veterans who were members of minority groups, such as his effort to secure military rank advancement for prisoners of war, such as those veterans, many of whom who were New Mexicans, held in captivity for more than 40 months following the Bataan Death March.
- M. Christina Armijo, Territory of New Mexico vs. Paula Angel: One WOman's Tragic Journey Through Territorial Justice in 1861, 42 New Mexico Law Review 301-328 (2012)
- M. Christina Armijo at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
Seat established by 114 Stat. 2762
| Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
Bruce D. Black
| Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
William Paul Johnson