Incumbent Colorado Supreme Court justices face stiff retention opposition – Denver Post notices, breaks “radio silence” on issue
The Denver Post breaks “radio silence” in news coverage of Colorado’s judicial retention elections…
Today’s (Sunday) Denver Post joins the Wall Street Journal, along with the New York Times, Associated Press, United Press International, and countless other media outlets and once again takes notice of the upcoming vote on three incumbent Colorado Supreme Court justices seeking an additional 10-year term in office.
The article (“Three Colorado high court justices face stiff retention opposition“) breaks a long-standing dearth of Denver Post news coverage of the Colorado Supreme Court judicial retention elections (following a brief mention during coverage of Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey’s decision to resign rather than face the voters in June, and an article noting that the justices were facing a “tough vote in elections” in February).
Unfortunately – other than noting the fact that “groups like Clear The Bench Colorado” oppose retention of the three incumbent justices because of “rulings [that] violate the state’s constitution” – the article doesn’t provide much in the way of substantive information, devoting the majority of print space to re-printing excerpts of the judicial performance commission “evaluations” already published and mailed to voters (at substantial taxpayer expense) in the “Blue Book.”
Legal establishment special-interest groups are spending tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars to convince Colorado voters that “all is well” with state courts – promoting the farcical rubber-stamp “evaluations” conducted and published by the commissions on judicial “performance.”
Why are the “evaluations” not a reliable source of information on judicial performance?
1. The “evaluations” do not distinguish between good and bad judicial performance – and almost ALWAYS recommend a “retain” vote for the judges reviewed. Colorado Commission on Judicial Performance Evaluations (CCJPE) Executive Director Jane Howell (quoted in the article) confirms that, over the decades-long history of the review process, Colorado Supreme Court justices “reviewed” by the commissions have received a “retain” vote 100% of the time.
(Similarly, Court of Appeals judges have also received a 100% “retain” recommendation, while all judges at other levels have received “retain” recommendations 99% of the time).
Even Fidel Castro and the late Saddam Hussein didn’t receive that level of “retain” votes!
Recently, the commissions made headlines when they recommended (unanimously!) to “retain” two Larimer County judges who had conspired to hide evidence which sent an innocent man to jail for 10 YEARS:
2. The “evaluations” – published as a 5-paragraph narrative, only one paragraph of which even pretends to address actual judicial “performance” – provide very little substantive information on which to base an informed decision. The review criteria are shallow (“timeliness”, ‘orderliness’ and “demeanor”) rather than substantive and performance-based. The level of “evaluation” is more like a kindergarten report card (“Benny is punctual, keeps his area neat & tidy, and plays well with others”) rather than a serious look at judicial performance.
A Denver Post guest commentary written by a former State Judicial Performance Commissioner provided an insightful critique of the current process several months ago.
3. The “evaluations” provide NO information on how the justices reviewed actually decided important constitutional cases – rulings which have had a tremendous (and highly negative) impact on Colorado citizens.
Reading the commission “evaluations” alone, voters would have no knowledge of the fact that the incumbent justices voted to allow:
- Unconstitutional Property Tax Increases (Mill Levy Tax Freeze)
- Unconstitutional elimination of Tax Credits & Exemptions (tobacco tax, “Dirty Dozen” taxes)
- Unconstitutionally re-defining Taxes as Fees (Colorado Car Tax, Ritter Gun Tax)
- Unconstitutional expansion of eminent domain property seizures (Telluride Land Grab)
- Unconstitutional usurpation of legislative power (judicial redistricting, school funding)
(Complete references on these and other cases, including analysis and the full text of the rulings, are available on our Resources & References page)
Get informed! You may or may not agree with our conclusions – but you do have the RIGHT to better information than what is provided by these sham judicial performance commission “evaluations”, and you have the RIGHT to hold these unelected (and increasingly powerful) incumbent government officials accountable at the ballot box, as they seek another 10-year term in office.
Vote “NO” on these unjust justices – and Clear The Bench, Colorado!
Become an informed voter; 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 (er, now three) ‘unjust justices’ of the Mullarkey Majority (Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice, and 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 homes and business from seizure by abuse of eminent domain, and your right to enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, instead of 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 November elections!