Don’t Let Unjust Justices Make Colorado Puppies Sad

Restoring accountability to Colorado’s judiciary, upholding the Rule of Law, and defending YOUR rights as citizens and taxpayers against the worst abuses of the Mullarkey Court is serious business.  Extremely serious – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t point out some seriously funny aspects, too.

In 2008, Colorado’s very crowded ballot not only featured a dizzying array of candidates for elective office, but also a veritable plethora of judges (in my area, 17 up for retention, including two Supreme Court justices – one of whom got my “YES” vote) and an alphabet soup of ballot initiatives.

Most of those, including amendments to gut TABOR and increase taxes, were rejected by Colorado voters, but some passed – including Amendment 54, the “Clean Government Initiative.”

Now, a Denver district judge has stopped the implementation of that constitutional amendment – which passed by a vote of the citizens of Colorado – by granting a “temporary injunction” against enforcement of limits on campaign contributions by “no-bid” government contractors:

The amendment prevents anyone tied to an entity that receives a no-bid government contract greater than $100,000 from giving to political parties or candidates at any level.

Once again, a judge has acted on the behalf of special interest groups intent on “gaining favor and contracts from public officials” through political contributions – “probably triggering a flood of campaign contributions” from those seeking to curry favor while the ‘temporary injunction’ remains in effect.

So how does this relate to puppies?  As we are reminded by an article in the June 24th Westword, “Colorado’s puppies and kitties at risk after Amendment 54 ruling,”

“Last November, DMYR reps upset by what they saw as illogical ads opposing 54 and two other amendments, 47 and 49, decided to come up with equally absurd salvos representing the other side of the issue.”


Then-DMYR President and current PeoplesPressCollective correspondent T.L. James created the ads poking fun at the opposition’s hyperbole at the time, and now notes that

“from TABOR to transparency, it doesn’t matter what you vote for…” special interests,  politicians, and “corrupt collaborators in business… will just find ways to get around it or nullify it in the legislature and the courts.”

Despite the apparently high-minded rhetoric, many Colorado judges (including the Mullarkey majority on the Colorado Supreme Court) have been extremely selective (some might say, capricious or biased) in applying First Amendment protections to political speech, campaign contributions, and ballot initiatives: favoring some, crushing others, depending on their personal preferences.

It’s too bad that we can’t send the judiciary a message by voting to non-retain four Colorado Supreme Court justices (e.g. Justices Bender, Martinez, Rice, and Chief Justice Mullarkey) in the 2010 elections.

Oh wait! YES WE CAN!

Help save Colorado’s puppies and kittens by fighting back against our state’s unjust justices…  Support Clear The Bench Colorado with your voice (Sound Off!), your contributions, and your “NO” vote on retaining unjust justices in 2010!

Come back every week for another edition of the Friday Funnies at Clear The Bench Colorado!

2 Responses to Don’t Let Unjust Justices Make Colorado Puppies Sad

  • Hold on there, partners. Censorship is a violation of people’s rights, whether the majority approved it or not.

    Amendment 54 is a blatant violation of the First Amendment and of Article II, Section 10 of Colorado’s constitution:

    Freedom of speech and press. No law shall be passed impairing the freedom of speech; every person shall be free to speak, write or publish whatever he will on any subject, being responsible for all abuse of that liberty; and in all suits and prosecutions for libel the truth thereof may be given in evidence, and the jury, under the direction of the court, shall determine the law and the fact.

  • Director says:

    Let me make it clear: I don’t endorse censorship.

    My friend (and I mean that in the personal, as well as political/philosophical sense) Ari Armstrong is usually a reliably insightful commentator, and certainly an individual of principle. We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one…

    First off, the article cited was not a necessarily an endorsement of Amendment 54; it was an endorsement of the ads supporting the “pro-Liberty” triad of initiatives last year (47, 49, and 54) – which were clever, and cute. C’mon, Ari – don’t you LIKE kittens and puppies?

    All kidding aside: I fail to see how 54 – which introduces a means for voters to review sole-source contracts and only restricts political contributions as a condition of the sole-source contract – constitutes censorship. 54 does NOT prohibit sole-source contractors to “be free to speak, write or publish whatever he will on any subject” – it merely prevents them from offering “pay-to-play” kickbacks to those “making the buy” on $100,000+ no-bid deals. Entities that prefer to be political players have the option of not entering into a sole-source contract; entering into such a contractual relationship is strictly voluntary. Contractually accepting restrictions on political activity (for example, as a condition of employment) is a well established legal precedent (just ask an active-duty military member to express thoughts on the presidency or our “leaders” in Congress).
    This is NOT censorship.

    I emphatically agree with Ari that the best solution “is to restrict or eliminate no-bid contracts (and open contracts to bidding)” specifically (which Amendment 54 incentivizes), and “cut government spending and restore a free market” generally. Meanwhile, accepting corruption and “pull” as “just the way things operate” is morally indefensible, in my view.

    Finally: Ari makes some good points on the details of the Amendment’s verbiage. Reasonable people can (and do) disagree on whether it is too broad, and whether some sections can and should be challenged. However – and this was the primary thrust of the article – there’s a right and wrong way to go about this. Like it or not, Amendment 54 IS THE LAW – it’s part of the Constitution – and cannot simply be arbitrarily set aside based on a judge’s preference. Upholding the Rule of Law also means upholding constitutional means of redressing wrongs; not by whimsy, or caprice, or preference – but by an orderly process of challenge, argument, and redress, not an immediate resort to injunctive relief.

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