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Heinrich, Luján Commend Federal District Judge William Paul Johnson, Announce Process to Fill Vacancy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) are commending the Honorable William Paul Johnson, who has announced his intention to retire from regular active service as a United States District Court Judge effective in January 2025, after 23 years of distinguished service on the federal bench.  

“Over the course of his tenure on the federal bench, Judge Johnson has served with a generosity and kindness that is truly unique. Whether through his mentorship of New Mexico attorneys, his board service to help the most vulnerable among us, or the courtesy he shows to those who appear before him in his courtroom, Judge Johnson has approached his work with the seriousness, significance, and compassion it deserves,” said Heinrich and Luján. “We look forward to identifying candidates who can follow Judge Johnson’s example in the soon-to-be open seat that will be based in Las Cruces.” 

Judge Johnson was born in Roanoke, Virginia. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in the economics from Virginia Military Institute in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from Washington and Lee University in 1985. Prior to his federal appointment, Judge Johnson served as an artillery officer at Fort Sill and in the United States Army Reserve from 1981 to 1990, achieving the rank of captain. He worked in private practice in Houston, Texas from 1985 to 1986 and in Roswell, N.M. from 1986 to 1995. He was a judge on the New Mexico Fifth Judicial District Court from 1995 to 2001. 

President George W. Bush nominated Johnson for a federal appointment on September 4, 2001, to a seat vacated by John Edwards Conway. The United States Senate confirmed Johnson on December 13, 2001, and he received his commission on December 21, 2001. He became Chief Judge on February 7, 2018.  

During the Biden Administration, Heinrich and Luján have worked together to nominate three of the currently sitting federal judges: District Judges Margaret Strickland, David Herrera Urias, and Matthew Garcia. During the Trump Administration, Heinrich joined with then-Senator Tom Udall to nominate one additional currently sitting federal judge: District Judge Kea Riggs

The soon to be vacant seat on the District Court for the District of New Mexico will be based in Las Cruces, N.M. Individuals interested in being considered for the position should fill out an expression of interest here.