|Current Court Information:|
|Colorado Supreme Court|
|Appointed by:||Gov. Bill Owens|
|Past post:||Appellate Deputy District Attorney, Colorado Second Judicial District|
|Past post 2:||Deputy Colorado Attorney General, Appellate Section|
|Past term 2:||1983-1986|
|Undergraduate:||University of Colorado, 1971|
|Law School:||University of Colorado School of Law, 1977|
|Candidate for:||Supreme Court|
|Election information 2012:|
|Retention vote %:||71.39%|
- 1 Education
- 2 Career
- 3 Awards and Associatons
- 4 Elections
- 5 Judicial performance evaluations
- 6 Political Affiliations and Campaign Contributions
- 7 Political ideology
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
Nathan B. Coats is an associate justice on the Colorado Supreme Court. He was first appointed to the court on April 24, 2000 by Governor Bill Owens. Justice Coats was successfully retained in 2002 and 2012. His term ends in January of 2023.
- 2000-2022: Justice, Colorado Supreme Court
- 1986-2000: Appellate Deputy District Attorney, Colorado Second Judicial District
- 1983-1986: Deputy Colorado Attorney General, Appellate Section
- 1978-1983: Assistant Colorado Attorney General, Appellate Section
- 1977-1978: Associate, Hough, Grant, McCarren and Bernard
Awards and Associatons
- Member, Colorado Supreme Court, Criminal Rules Committee, 1993-2000
- Chair, Colorado Supreme Court, Criminal Rules Committee, 1997-2000
- Member, Colorado Supreme Court, Appellate Rules Committee, 1985-2000
- Member, Colorado Supreme Court, Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions Committee, 1987-2000
- Member, Colorado District Attorneys Council Legislative Committee, 1990-2000
- Member, Colorado Supreme Court, Joint Civil/Criminal Subcommittee on the Colorado Rules of Evidence, 1996-2000
- Member, Colorado Supreme Court Jury Reform Pilot Project Committee, 1998-2000
- Reporter, Governor's Columbine Commission, Fall 1999-April 2000
- Lecturer, Denver Police Academy, 1986-1997
- Member, Colorado Supreme Court, Board of Law Examiners, 1984-1994
- See also: Colorado judicial elections, 2012
| Colorado Supreme Court, Associate Justice|
2002 General election results
- Click here (scroll to page 129) for 2002 General Election Results from the Colorado Secretary of State.
Judicial performance evaluations
2012 performance evaluation
Colorado Commission on Judicial Performance
The Colorado Commission on Judicial Performance announced its recommendations for judges up for retention in 2012. According to its website, the commission evaluates judges based on the following criteria: integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, and administrative performance.
Criticism of process
There are critics of the state's method for evaluating judges. The most common complaint is that the evaluations are simply "rubber stamps" for judges standing for retention. To learn more about this viewpoint, read: The Denver Post, "Evaluating the performance of justices," February 15, 2010.
Justice Coats was recommended for retention by a 10-0 vote. 
Clear the Bench Colorado
Clear the Bench Colorado is a conservative organization which provides evaluations for individual rulings of judges seeking retention. It summarized Justice Coats as voting 6-2-2 in upholding the Colorado Constitution. For a comparison of his votes in specific cases, see: Clear the Bench Colorado, Key Colorado Supreme Court Cases.
- Boulder Weekly. To read the article calling for the judge's retention, see Boulder Weekly, "Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court: Retain Justice Nathan B. Coats," October 4, 2012.
- The Pueblo Chieftain.
2002 performance evaluation
The Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation voted unanimously to recommend Coats for retention. The COJPE reviews the answers of attorneys and District Judges and asked a variety of questions to determine the Judge's performance. The score is rated on a 4 point scale similar to school grades. Since 1990, which was the first election year after the statutory creation of judicial performance commissions and the use of performance evaluations, all Colorado Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals judges standing for retention have received do retain recommendations. Until 2010 no additional information on judicial performance has been made available to the public.
|Question classification||Attorney score||District Judge score||Combined average|
|Adequate explanation of opinion||3.5||3.1||3.3|
|Response without criticism||3.5||3.4||3.45|
|Response based on law||3.2||3.3||3.25|
|Not ruling on extra issues||3.7||3.3||3.5|
|Respect towards all parties||3.7||3.7||3.7|
|No ex parte communications||3.9||3.7||3.8|
Political Affiliations and Campaign Contributions
Judge Nathan B. Coats is currently listed as "nonpartisan" because Colorado judges are chosen via merit selection and retention elections are held for sitting justices; no campaign reports have been filed.
In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Coats received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of 0.29, indicating a conservative ideological leaning. This is more conservative than the average CF score of -0.29 that justices received in Colorado. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.
- Colorado Supreme Court
- Coats Biography
- The Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark, "Smoking Bans and the First Amendment...free speech goes up in smoke in Colorado," December 15, 2009
- Colorado State Judicial Branch website, Judge Coats Bio
- Colorado Secretary of State, 2012 Official General Election Results
- Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation, Press Release: Judge Evaluations Available on Internet August 7 (dead link)
- Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation, Nathan B. Coats
- The Pueblo Chieftain, "Retain judges," October 15, 2012 (dead link)
- Email correspondence with Jane B. Howell, Executive Director of the CCJPE, Aug 27, 2010
- Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation, Review of Justice Coats
- Follow The Money
- Stanford University, "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012