The New Mexico Supreme Court has thwarted an effort by Los Alamos resident Greg White to prevent the Los Alamos County Council from appointing a councilor to replace James Chrobocinski who resigned June 1 due to health issues.
White filed a brief Wednesday against Gov. Susana Martinez and the Los Alamos County Council. Supreme Court Justices Petra Jimenez, Charles W. Daniels and Gary L. Clingman denied White’s request that the Court mandate the governor to “do her constitutionally-mandated duty and fill the vacant position on the Council and order the Council to allow Martinez to make the appointment.
White maintains that the Council seeking applicants to fill out Chrobocinski’s term until Dec. 31 violates the New Mexico Constitution. In his brief, he states that if a governor looks the other way while one of her subdivisions subverts her, “that is stupidity as well as dereliction of a clear Constitutional duty and grounds for impeachment.
“If a subdivision clearly and deliberately violates a Constitutional mandate, that is treason and open rebellion against the State,” White said.
White tells the Court that “it would create a conflict and a situation resulting in prolonging a situation resulting in unnecessary litigations to allow or require the District Court to hear a mandamus action first in this instance”. He says the District Court has proven over and over that its workload is such that even cases such as his lawsuit against the County concerning the duties of the sheriff and the petitions for recall of three Los Alamos County Councilors “cannot be handled in any reasonable time frame”. He complains that the recall cases, which he said the Supreme Court requires to be decided within 10 days are still awaiting a hearing 40 days later.
“As the Los Alamos County Council intends to fill the vacant position June 11, the situation would be the vacancy would be filled unconstitutionally while the Governor was most likely still vetting candidates,” White’s brief states. He maintains the Court would “prevent unconstitutional action by elected officials but would save the Court from having to revisit this exact issue with undoubtedly numerous litigations to unseat an official who has no constitutional right to the office to begin with”.
White asked the Court that its decision be binding on any future governor and for all future vacancies on the Los Alamos County Council.
White told the Los Alamos Daily Post Friday evening that the Supreme Court did not provide any explanation as to why it dismissed his petition for a peremptory writ of mandamus.
“I will be filing Monday for them to reconsider that dismissal as matters of very substantive importance to all New Mexicans deserve to be heard or at the minimum the people deserve to know the Court’s reasoning for dismissal. Until this present Court, the New Mexico Supreme Court always issued a decision explaining why they were dismissing a case,” he said.
White said the people need to know if the Constitution is worth the paper it’s written on.
“Has this Court reversed 40 years of Home Rule case law regarding expressly denied? Is there any way to hold officials accountable? A recall petitioner can’t seem to get a hearing let alone actually collect signatures. Has the Court reversed its decision from just a year ago that every citizen has standing to file a suit against the government or anyone else unless expressly restricted by the language of the statute?” White said.