Brenda Saiz – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico

Transportation attorney Brenda Saiz, who has spent virtually her entire life as a noncontroversial, apolitical litigator, has been nominated to join the federal bench in New Mexico.

Background

Brenda Saiz spent her educational years in New Mexico, getting a B.A. in English from the University of New Mexico in 1993 and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico Law School in 2003.[1]

Saiz has spent virtually her entire legal career at the firm of Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin, & Robb, P.A., where she currently works as a Director.

History of the Seat

Saiz has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.  This seat opened on July 1, 2019, when Judge Judith Herrera moved to senior status.  

Legal Career

Saiz has primarily spent her career as a transportation law attorney.[2]  Among her most notable cases, Saiz represented FedEx transport in a wrongful death suit brought as a result of a catastrophic accident in which a FedEx tractor-trailer struck the plaintiff’s vehicle.[3]  A jury awarded $165 million to the plaintiffs after a trial, and the verdict was upheld by the New Mexico Court of Appeals.[4] 

Saiz has also handled some non-transportation related matters.  For example, Saiz represented attorney Dennis Montoya, who was suspended from legal practice for one year by the New Mexico Supreme Court for repeated violations of the Rules of Professional Responsibility.[5]

Public Statements

Saiz has relatively few public statements that she has made on the law.  As a law student, Saiz authored an article discussing the New Mexico Court of Appeals case in Wallis v. Smith, which held that unintentionally fathering a child due to a misrepresentation regarding use of birth control is not actionable under the law.[6]  In the article, Saiz noted that many courts refused to create tort actions from the use or lack thereof of birth control because such actions would infringe upon the right to privacy recognized in the U.S. Constitution.[7]  Saiz endorsed the decision noting that it was supported by the “overriding interests of the child and the right to privacy.”[8]

Overall Assessment

As a relatively apolitical candidate for the bench, Saiz can be considered a fairly mainstream nominee.  Saiz has been relatively reticent in their legal career, and her few public statements, indicating support for the right of privacy in the Constitution, are unlikely to be sources of liberal opposition.  As such, assuming Republicans don’t oppose her, Saiz’s biggest obstacle to confirmation is the calendar rather than anything in her background


[1] Brenda M. Saiz, Rodey Law, https://www.rodey.com/attorney-profile.aspx?rlaid=9dfd465b-cd89-49f3-8767-33c0044443c6 (last visited Aug. 5, 2020).

[2] John Kingston, New Mexico Trucking Attorney Nominated for Seat on Federal Bench, Freight Waves, May 29, 2020, https://www.freightwaves.com/news/new-mexico-trucking-attorney-nominated-for-seat-on-federal-bench.

[3] Morga v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., 420 P.3d 586, 590 (N.M. App. 2018).

[4] Id. at 596.

[5] See In re Montoya, 150 N.M. 731 (2011).

[6] Brenda Saiz, Tort Liability When Fraudulent Misrepresentation Regarding Birth Control Results in the Birth of a Healthy Child – Wallis v. Smith, 32 N.M. L. Rev. 549 (Summer 2002).

[7] See id. at 557.

[8] Id. at 565.

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