Judiciary needs sunlight; let’s start with how we pick judges

Article author: 
John Caldera
Article publisher: 
Complete Colorado
Article date: 
17 October 2022
Article category: 
Colorado News
Article Body: 

... With Democrats in the governor’s office for 40 of the last 48 years, the courts have become, well, a little incestuous.

It’s worth asking why the third branch gets so little attention in Colorado....

In a retention, voters are merely asked if they want to force a guy out of his job. The ballot question reads, “shall judge John Doe be retained in office?” Yes or no....

The Commission for Judicial Performance. At the end of their performance review, the commission states whether or not a judge “meets the standard” to be retained.

A couple of problems with that though. “Meets the standard” tells us nothing about their judicial philosophy....

Given all the issues being uncovered by The Gazette of cronyism, sole-source contracts and questionable ethical behavior, we need a fundamental change in how we choose judges.

So, there are really only two solutions to bring more accountability and voter-control over our wayward judges.

We can join the other states that have partisan races for judges, meaning they’d have to go out and fundraise and cozy up with the special interests they’ll be ruling on later.

I believe a better answer is to increase the vote needed to retain a judge to a supermajority.

Most judges are retained by a 70%-ish “yes” vote now.

Is it too much to ask that a judge receive a 60% yes vote to stay in office? It would be a small step in the right direction....