09 January 2006

Colorado Legislature Loses Lawsuit

The state legislature in Colorado sued the Judicial Performance Commission in a spat over who was entitled to an appointment. The Commission largely won. The person seated by the previous legislature to the State House Speaker designated seat was held valid, against a competiting appointment from the current State House Speaker, due to the way that term lengths were calculated. The person proposed by State Senate President was found to have been appointed after the appointment deadline, reverting the appointment power to the commission.

In the real world, the case law will likely clarify future appointment questions for a variety of boards and commissions, and the policy impact of this case will be modest. The Judicial Performance Commission publishes the booklet that tells voters if a judge is recommended or not for retention. In practice, something on the order of 99% are retained (no appellate judge has ever been removed by the voters), with the vast majority receiving a recommendation, and even a good share of those who don't managing to stay on the bench.

(Note: Post corrected in the details.)

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