Yesterday, I filed my application to fill the vacancy in the Denver Probate Judge position created when Judge C. Jean Stewart tendered her resignation effective June 30, 2011.
My application will be evaluated along with the application of the other applicants who meet the requirements for consideration for the position on May 17, 2011 by the Second Judicial District Nominating Commission, a body with seven members: four Democrats, two Republicans, one unaffiliated Denver residents; three lawyers and four non-lawyers. The body is chaired by Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr. The Commission generally recommends three of the candidates, on the basis of merit, for consideration by Governor Hickenlooper who must either select an appointee from that group, or defer the choice to the Colorado Supreme Court (which almost never happens). There is then a retention election after an initial two year term, and after each six year term thereafter. Judge Stewart was just overwhelming retained by Denver voters in the November 2010 election.
Judges are subject to the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct, consisting of nine Canons that judges are to observe. Several apply to off the job conduct of judges:
Canon 1: A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
Canon 2: A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all the judge's activities.
Canon 4: A judge is encouraged to engage in quasi-judicial activities to improve the law, the legal system and the administration of justice.
Canon 5: A judge is encouraged to participate in extra-judicial activities.
Canon 7: A judge should refrain from political activity inappropriate to his or her judicial office.
(The other canons don't pertain to the non-financial extra-judicial activities of a Probate Judge except Canon 3 which provides in addition to other matters that "The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all his or her other activities.")
By its terms, the Colorado Canons of Judicial Conduct do not apply to me at this point. But, in the interest of avoiding any appearance of impropriety, I will be adhering to these Canons during the course of the judicial selection process. Most directly relevant to this blog, I will be refraining from making posts for a political organization or candidate, will not be publicly endorsing any candidate for public office, will not be soliciting funds for or contributing to political organizations or campaigns, and will not be engaged in most kinds of political activity including political blogging.
I will also be refraining from discussing who I would rule on any case or issue that might come before a Denver Probate Judge.
There are many other blogs where you can get your fix of political rhetoric, gossip, analysis and advocacy, and I encourage you to go out and find them.
The Canons of Judicial Conduct do not require that a judge never had political involvement before taking office, and I won't be purging old posts from this blog as a result. I will, however, be removing certain partisan links or links that may create an appearance of impartiality or bias from the sidebar. Please do not consider the removal of your link to be a personal affront.