Colorado Supreme Court justices face a tough vote in upcoming statewide retention elections this November
It’s taken a while, but the Denver Post has started to take notice of those other statewide elections (the four MOST important votes Colorado citizens can cast in this very important election year). Appearing above-the-fold on the front page (print edition) and top news story (online edition), the article (“Four Colorado Supreme Court justices face a tough vote in elections“) finally gives the issue some much-deserved (if somewhat belated) attention. Some excerpts:
Judicial-retention elections are traditionally quiet, noncontroversial affairs that barely get attention before Election Day. [Ed.: Not this year!]
But a series of decisions made by the Colorado Supreme Court over the past decade has energized opponents of four justices who will be up for retention this fall, including Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey.
Critics say the majority of the justices’ rulings on property taxes, eminent domain and congressional redistricting have violated the state’s constitution or are clearly partisan.
The article notes that “the justices in question received high ratings on the state’s judicial-performance evaluations” in 2000. Ironically, there was an article published in Saturday’s Denver Post, entitled “Evaluating the performance of justices” which noted the weaknesses inherent in the current judicial performance review process:
There has been a failure of real performance evaluation and a lack of analytical content in the write-ups for the voters. If narratives provide meaningful information about how a justice has decided cases, there will be accountability and the system will work as it is designed to do. Too often in the past, narratives have amounted to complimentary resumes instead of job performance evaluations.
Voters should also beware the opinions of “legal experts” and “impartial observers” such as the University of Colorado law professor quoted later in the same front-page story. Although Professor Richard Collins may have some stature as a law professor, he is neither unbiased nor “impartial” – as a quick look at his resume and pattern of political contributions (thousands of dollars given to Democrats) would show. An activist law professor glossing over the work of activist justices should come as no surprise.
Other equally qualified commentators take a diametrically different view of the constitutionality (and adherence to proper legal procedures and protocols) of numerous Colorado Supreme Court rulings. Commenting on the “Mill Levy Tax Freeze” case in the same article, attorney Richard Westfall (among the preeminent practicing constitutional lawyers in Colorado) states:
“[T]he Colorado Supreme Court chose to ignore the clear evidence and the findings of fact made by the trial court below. I believe the court did that to reach a predetermined result and therefore, in this particular incidence, the court did not follow the facts of the law as it should.”
The article concludes by referencing recent statements that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (the state’s top law enforcement official) made about voting against the retention of Mullarkey, Bender and Martinez. As the state’s top official with specific responsibility to “represent and defend the legal interests of the people of the State of Colorado” his statement is a clear condemnation of the disregard for the “legal interests of the people” demonstrated time and again by the Mullarkey Majority on the Colorado Supreme Court.
However, the ultimate authority – and final decision – rests not with the “experts”, but with the citizens. The Constitution is OUR document – meant to impose limits and constraints on the power and authority that We The People delegate to the government, “in order to secure our inalienable rights.”
“The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself and not what we have said about it.”
–Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, Graves v. New York, 1939
Colorado Supreme Court justices are – and must be – accountable: to the law, to the Constitution, and ultimately, to the citizens of Colorado (“We The People“). Retention elections are the only mechanism by which the people of Colorado can hold the appointed guardians of our constitutional rights accountable.
Become an informed citizen; conduct your own evaluation of the performance of these justices, based on how (and whether) they follow the Constitution and uphold the rule of law. Armed with information, Yes, you can exercise your right to vote “NO” on the four ‘unjust justices’ of the Mullarkey Majority (Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice, and Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey) who need YOUR approval to continue taking away your constitutional rights: your right to vote on tax increases, your right to defend your home and business from seizure by rapacious governments, and your right to enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, instead of suffering under rule by activist, agenda-driven “justices.” Support Clear The Bench Colorado with your comments (Sound Off!) and your contributions – and vote “NO” on retaining these unjust justices in the “tough” November elections!