Colorado Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission names finalists to succeed retiring Justice Michael Bender

The Colorado Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission has named the three finalists to succeed retiring state supreme court justice Michael Bender (his retirement is effective 7 January 2014).

The Nominating Commission’s press release summarizes the process for selecting Bender’s successor:

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission met in Denver on Oct. 8 and 9, 2013, to interview and select three candidates for a vacancy on the Colorado Supreme Court created by the retirement of the Hon. Michael L. Bender, Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. The vacancy is effective Jan. 7, 2014. The nominees are John Daniel Dailey, William W. Hood and David Prince.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has 15 days from Oct. 10, 2013, within which to appoint one of the nominees as a justice on the Colorado Supreme Court.

Comments regarding any of the nominees may be sent via e-mail to the governor at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us.

The three finalists (from whom Governor John Hickenlooper will select one) are:

Judge Dailey has served on the Colorado Court of Appeals since 2000; he was last retained in 2010 (Clear The Bench Colorado recommended a “retain” vote in that election).

Judge Hood was initially selected to hear the 2011 Congressional redistricting lawsuits, before the case was reassigned to Denver District Court Chief Judge Robert Hyatt, possibly or in part due to Hood’s past association (working together at the same law firm) with Democrat attorney Mark Grueskin,
as reported by Law Week online:

Denver District Judge William Hood, who was randomly assigned to hear Colorado congressional redistricting lawsuits filed Tuesday by Republicans and Democrats, once was a law-firm colleague of the lead attorney for the Democratic side.

Before his appointment to the Denver bench in 2007, Hood worked at Isaacson Rosenbaum, the firm that until recently employed Democratic Party lawyer Mark Grueskin.

Asked about a possible conflict between himself and the judge, Grueskin said, “Even before you get to the issue that he and I were formerly colleagues, he may have a docket that’s full.”

Judge Prince was also a finalist to succeed retiring former chief justice Mary Mullarkey in 2010; he was profiled by Denver Post courts reporter Felisa Cardona (“Colorado Supreme Court finalist Prince applies diligence to his cases – and his barbecue“) in an article appearing 4 September 2010.

The Law Week Online article, “Three Judges Nominated For Supreme Court Seat” (11 October 2013) summarizes additional background information on the three finalists.

Citizen participation in the judicial nominating commissions (either at the district level or statewide) is essential to ensuring that good judges – who understand that their role is to fairly and impartially uphold and apply the law – are elevated to judicial office, instead of more politicians in black robes.

This is particularly important in selecting the next statewide appellate court judges – many of whom all too frequently have exercised unrestrained power in violation of constitutional limits on their authority.

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 judges are fulfilling their proper roles as referees upholding the rules rather than players attempting to score for their “team’s” agenda.

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.

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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