First person: Judge comfortable on the border

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Robert Brack was appointed a U.S. district judge in 2003.

By Liliana Castillo: Staff writer

U.S. District Judge Robert Brack, 54, moved to Clovis in 1965. In the 42 years that Brack lived in Clovis, he met his wife and became a state judge. In 2003, Brack moved his family to Las Cruces to be a U.S. District Judge for the New Mexico District.

On the job: I love my job. It’s different than the judging I did in Clovis. The emphasis is on the immigration issues here. I have liked having to deal with new legal situations. I have enjoyed being a judge in that you deal with a lot of people in crisis, and you have a chance to make a difference in their lives.

On leaving Clovis for Las Cruces: It was a bittersweet sort of experience. We love Las Cruces. It’s got a great climate, close to shopping and airports, and of course, college basketball. But we left behind some family and lifelong friends and that was hard.

Trojans or Wildcats? I was able to work out a deal with Michael Bradley, coach of Mayfield. He and I go to church together. He gave me dispensation to cheer for Clovis when they play Mayfield. But otherwise, I have to be a Mayfield fan.

On separation of church and state: I am a Christian and my faith means everything to me. I hope that it affects, in a positive way, my ability to be compassionate and
merciful when appropriate. But there are times, too, when I have to divorce myself from personal feelings. As a district judge, you have to follow the law. In those instances, I have to stand back from my faith and let the law control.

On his hobbies: Golf and reading. His favorite novel is “Pillars of the Earth” about the building of the cathedrals in Europe, and his favorite biography is about President John Adams.

On changes: One challenge was, of course, leaving Clovis. The other would be just the volume of cases we deal with here. The New Mexico District is the busiest of the 94 districts because of the immigration issue.

— Compiled by Liliana Castillo