Surveying the Media on Mullarkey Retirement – was Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice ousted by Clear The Bench Colorado?

Either the Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice has been afflicted by the same highly contagious epidemic of political figures “wishing to spend more time with their family” as befell Governor Ritter, or there’s something else afoot…

Those journalists willing and able to look deeper than the retirement announcement intended for public consumption didn’t have too far to dig.  Reporter Joe Hanel of the Durango Herald (Denver bureau) was the first to contact Clear The Bench Colorado for comment; in his article on Mullarkey’s announced retirement (“Colorado’s Chief Justice set to retire“) he noted:

Under Mullarkey’s leadership, the court issued a series of rulings that limited the effect of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

She wrote the 2009 opinion in Mesa County Commissioners v. State of Colorado, which upheld Ritter’s plan to freeze school property taxes without a vote of the people.

The ruling… opened the door for 11 bills that repealed tax credits and exemptions in the 2010 legislative session.

Matt Arnold is running a campaign to get voters to turn out four Supreme Court justices this November, when they face their once-in-a-decade retention votes. Mullarkey was one of the four.

“One down, three to go,” Arnold said.

In addition to the TABOR cases, conservatives chafed at rulings that kept an illegal-immigration measure off the ballot and created a congressional district map favored by Democrats.

“She hasn’t followed the constitution in years in her judgments,” Arnold said.

The Denver Post’s otherwise reasonably balanced article on Chief Justice Mullarkey’s announced retirement (“Mullarkey, chief justice of Colorado Supreme Court, stepping down” by political reporter Jessica Fender) contained only an oblique reference to the fact that “[H]er decision to step down comes amid a vigorous campaign by critics to persuade voters not to retain her on the court in November.”  Apparently in deference to what seems to be official Denver Post policy (possibly related to the Post’s unwillingness to offend the sensibilities of their largest tenant and source of rent revenue), the name of the organization mounting the “vigorous campaign” is not mentioned.

Other print media also opted not to delve beyond the surface and were similarly circumspect in their commentary, including the Grand Junction Sentinel (“Mullarkey has earned much criticism during the past year“) and the Pueblo Chieftain (“Supreme Court and its decisions came under fire“); several other newspapers appeared to have simply reprinted the press release, leading one to question whether investigative journalism is completely dead.

Well, not quite – as these excerpts from an excellent article on the Mary Mullarkey Retirement by Westword’s Michael Roberts (published Friday) demonstrate:

During yesterday’s announcement about her intention to retire in November, Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey said a vigorous campaign against her and three other justices had nothing to do with her decision.

That’s Mullarkey malarkey, counters Matt Arnold of ClearTheBenchColorado.org, the organization spearheading the Supreme crusade.

“Any claim that this has nothing to do with my campaign is whistling in the wind,” Arnold says.

…there’s no denying that Arnold’s message is having an impact. But did it cause Mullarkey to surrender despite her insistence that factors like a new grandchild and her husband’s retirement motivated her decision?

Yes, Arnold believes. “It’s very clear she decided to step down because she knew she was facing a very tough retention election and would very likely be voted down — and she would go down in history as the first chief justice in the history of Colorado to be rejected by the voters. The writing was on the wall.”

In some ways, however, Arnold was disappointed by Mullarkey’s move.

“I think it’s important for voters to get involved,” he says. “If they step down, that’s obviously their decision. But it’s important for citizens to get engaged in this and realize how important it is. We not only have the right, but the duty and the responsibility to hold all officials accountable to their oath of office, whether they’re elected or appointed.

“Obviously, the preference is that the voters exercise their responsibilities and reject these people on the grounds that they’re not following the constitution. But it’s of great benefit for the citizens of the state for these anti-constitutionalist justices to leave the bench by whatever legal means, whether it’s retirement or being voted out.”

On area radio shows this weekend, numerous stations also noted the connection between Mullarkey’s announced retirement and the Clear The Bench Colorado campaign (podcasts forthcoming).

For the most part, television news lived up to it’s reputation for superficiality, merely noting the announced resignation with little comment or analysis, but panelists on the KBDI public affairs program Colorado Inside Out credited Clear The Bench Colorado with providing the impetus for the Chief Justice’s self-removal from the bench.  (Program aired Friday, with repeats set for Monday & Tuesday, podcasts to follow).

Chief Justice Mullarkey’s announced retirement does not change the fact that We The People need to finish Clearing the Bench – we must still exercise our right to vote “NO” this November on the four (er, three remaining) ‘unjust justices’ of the Colorado Supreme Court’s “Mullarkey Majority”- (Justices 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 or business against seizure via eminent domain abuse, your right to be fairly represented in the legislature and Congress, and your right to enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, instead of suffering under rule by activist, agenda-driven “justices.”  Continue to support Clear The Bench Colorado with your comments (Sound Off!) and your contributions – and vote “NO” on giving these unjust justices another 10-year term!

One Response to Surveying the Media on Mullarkey Retirement – was Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice ousted by Clear The Bench Colorado?

  • PETER COULTER says:

    Sadly, Mary Mullarkey’s* name will go down in history as the Barry Bonds* of the Colorado judicial system. I would encourage her to get rid of the asterisk by anouncing her retirement after the ballot vote in November assuring her that the majority of Colorado citizens support her retention. Otherwise, her retirement will always look like a sham.*

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