The state Supreme Court will create a commission to study issues related to race and bias in the state's justice system and promote diversity among judges and judicial employees.
"We must eliminate the deleterious effects of the poisons of prejudice, bias and racism," members of the court said Thursday in an open letter released by the Administrative Office of the Courts. "We must serve all persons equally, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, income, language, ability or education.
"To achieve this goal the Judiciary will engage in a critical examination of the institution. We need to acknowledge our shortcomings and recognize our conscious and unconscious biases. This reflection is the first step to lasting change. But actions speak louder," the letter stated.
The framework of the commission will be developed by a committee led by Supreme Court Justice Shannon Bacon. The committee also will include a civil rights attorney for the city of Albuquerque, two University of New Mexico law professors, a Taos Pueblo Tribal Court judge and a Court of Appeals judge, according to the announcement.
Bacon and other committee members are expected to make recommendations to the Supreme Court in the fall about how the commission should be structured, who should serve on the commission and what its goals should be, according to a news release.