No More Secrecy in Colorado Supreme Court judicial hiring

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…”

We find ourselves in rare agreement with the Denver Post’s editorial board, as they seek greater transparency in the hiring process for government officials, calling for “No More Secrecy in Aurora hiring.

But if “closed-door meetings to interview city manager candidates” is “disheartening” to the Denver Post editorial board, what of the similarly closed-door process for evaluating potential nominees to the Colorado Supreme Court, who will exert exponentially greater power over ALL of Colorado citizens, not just the residents of a single city?

A common critique of Colorado’s system of “merit selection & retention” for judges is the lack of transparency in commission deliberations (both during front-end judicial selection, and in back-end judicial performance review and retention) and lack of meaningful opportunity for public participation and comment.  This lack of transparency leads to a lack of public confidence in our judiciary and ultimately to a lack of accountability for the increasingly active and powerful Third Branch of our government.

Our judicial system depends more than any other branch of government on public trust and confidence that the law is being applied fairly and impartially for all citizens – that our supreme court justices are fulfilling their proper roles as referees upholding the rules rather than players attempting to score for their “team’s” agenda.

In sports, referees who violate the rules and demonstrate a consistent bias for one team lose their jobs.

In government, because Colorado Supreme Court justices wield so much power, the stakes are much more important than an athletic contest – or the hiring of a city manager for Aurora.

Of course, the biggest political “players” (especially in the ‘legal establishment’) are well aware of this – they naturally prefer the closed-door, non-transparent, unaccountable, political insider-dominated process that allows them enormous influence behind the scenes.

Our view: an informed citizenry and active citizen participation is vital in restoring accountability and transparency to the 3rd branch of state government, the judicial branch – most particularly for the Colorado Supreme Court.

We call upon the Denver Post editorial board to demonstrate some integrity and consistency in their position, and join Clear The Bench Colorado in requesting that the state Supreme Court Nominating Commission (meeting Monday and Tuesday behind closed doors, with NO opportunity for public review or input) release the names and relevant background of the 31 applicants to replace outgoing Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey (who opted to retire rather than face the voters in the upcoming November elections to fight for another 10-year term in office).

We The People can (indeed, as citizens, we must) hold our public officials – both elected and appointed – accountable.  Be a citizen, not a subject – get informed, then exercise your 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 – soon to be minus 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.”  Support Clear The Bench Colorado with your comments (Sound Off!) and contributions – and exercise your right to vote “NO” on giving these unjust justices another 10-year term!

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