Governor Hickenlooper selects JeffCo Judge Brian Boatright as next Colorado Supreme Court justice

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced this morning his selection of Jefferson County District Court Judge Brian Boatright (1st Judicial District) to become the next Colorado Supreme Court justice.  Judge Boatright replaces departing  Justice Alex Martinez, who is resigning to take a “city job” as Denver Manager of Safety (after being retained in office only last year, albeit with the lowest – 59% – percentage of “retain” votes ever received by an incumbent Colorado Supreme Court justice).

Governor Hickenlooper selected Judge Boatright from among three finalists selected by the Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission (announced earlier this month).  Judge Boatright was the only one of the three with any judicial experience (having served as a trial court judge for the over a decade) and will be only one of two Colorado Supreme Court justices with experience as a trial court judge once he joins the state’s highest court.

Judge Boatright comes to the Colorado Supreme Court with a broad range of experience, respect from both peers and other persons coming before his court, and strong endorsements from his application packet’s letters of reference and recommendation.

Most encouragingly, Judge Boatright’s statements at this morning’s press conference announcing his appointment, and in a previous interview (published only yesterday in the Denver Post) appear to indicate that he understands that the proper role of the judiciary is to uphold the law as written and “gets it” when it comes to the qualities that make a “good” judge.

Yesterday’s Denver Post, “Colorado Supreme Court justice finalists from diverse political backgrounds” included the following:

“Your job is to follow the law and apply the law regardless of how you personally feel,” he said. “You can’t have decisions based on personal whims of the judges. It’s got to be based on what the law is. It gives predictability to society; it gives confidence in the system.”

Judge Boatright’s statement this morning, as reported by the Post’s Jessica Fender (“Boatright brings family law expertise, “intangibles” to Colorado Supreme Court“) continues in the same vein:

“I will always do my best to serve the citizens and apply the law as written,” Boatright said.

Of course, even the best of people can succumb to the temptations of power (which is why elected and appointed officials must be held accountable by a watchful citizenry), but initial indications are that Governor Hickenlooper chose wisely, and that Judge Boatright will likely continue to serve Colorado well as Justice Boatright.

In any event, Clear The Bench Colorado will be watching.

Clear The Bench Colorado will, with your support, continue to promote transparency and accountability in the Colorado judiciary, informing the public to increase awareness of the substantial public policy implications of an unrestrained activism and political agendas in the courts.  We will continue to work to educate voters and provide information of relevance related to the judicial branch, and to provide useful and substantive evaluations of judicial performance.

However, we can’t do it alone –  we need your continued support; via your comments (Sound Off!) and, yes, your contributions.  Freedom isn’t free –nor is it always easy to be a Citizen, not a subject.

Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.

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