Clear The Bench Colorado marks 5th anniversary as CO’s premier judicial accountability organization, may expand
“Time flies when you’re having fun…”
Hard to believe, but it has already (only?) been 5 years since the founding of our state’s only effective judicial accountability organization, Clear The Bench Colorado.
Starting as nothing more than an idea – knowing that Colorado judges are accountable to the people, that Colorado voters deserve more information on our state’s powerful 3rd branch of government – Clear The Bench Colorado has effected a much-needed (and long-overdue) awakening about the role and importance of Colorado’s judiciary.
Clear The Bench Colorado played a role in “encouraging” the self-removal of two of the worst state supreme court justices in Colorado history (Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey quit the bench in 2010 rather than face the voters, and Justice Alex Martinez quit the bench after receiving the lowest voter approval of any supreme court justice in state history some time after the 2010 elections) – resulting in a much-improved composition of our state’s highest court.
In fact, over the last couple of years, court challenges have achieved the ONLY significant victories for freedom in Colorado – since CTBC’s founding, overturning the Amazon Tax, overturning the CU Gun Ban, upholding the Douglas County school choice program, overturning unconstitutional legislation restricting petition-gathering for ballot initiatives, and (most strikingly) overturning a lower court to uphold the constitutionality of Colorado’s school funding system (the Lobato statewide school funding case, called the “SuperBowl of school funding litigation”) saving the state’s taxpayers over $1 BILLION annually (as predicted by CTBC’s analysis of the case) – a tremendously impactful win credited in large part to Clear The Bench Colorado‘s efforts to increase judicial accountability.
Clear The Bench Colorado helped Colorado voters to “Know Your Judge” with substantive evaluations of judicial performance prior to the November 2012 and 2010 elections – the ONLY source of reliable, substantive information on judges appearing on the ballot.
Statewide legislative elections in 2012 were significantly impacted (if not effectively pre-determined outright) by results of the Colorado Supreme Court’s December 2011 rulings on the reapportionment of state legislative districts – leading to lopsided majorities for Democrats in both chambers of the state legislature, despite actually receiving fewer votes overall (45% to 48.5% of total votes/candidates)
Clear The Bench Colorado‘s successes have been noted not only in Colorado, but in other states as well; on our 5th anniversary, CTBC is finalizing arrangements to expand the brand and reach of judicial accountability to other states sharing the “judicial retention vote” model, as well as expanding our reviews of judicial performance to the county & district court level here at home.
Few, if any, grassroots organizations have had as much impact on the political and civic arena as has Clear The Bench Colorado over the last five years.
Will Clear The Bench Colorado continue to help reform Colorado’s judiciary by promoting transparency and accountability, informing the public to increase awareness of the substantial public policy implications of an unrestrained activism and political agendas in the courts, over the next few years?
Will Colorado be able to count on CTBC’s useful and substantive evaluations of judicial performance in coming elections?
The choice is yours, Colorado.
Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.