Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission
The Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission is a "merit system" committee that screens and recommends candidates for gubernatorial approval for vacancies on the Colorado Supreme Court.
There are two types of nominating commissions in Colorado: the Supreme Court Nominating Commission and judicial district nominating commissions (of which there are 22). The Supreme Court Nominating Commission recommends candidates to serve as judges for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. The chief justice of the Supreme Court chairs the commission and is a non-voting member. This commission includes one citizen admitted to practice law in Colorado and one citizen not admitted to practice law residing in each of the state’s seven congressional districts, and one additional citizen not admitted to practice law in Colorado.
Commission members serve six-year terms. Non-lawyers, who are the majority of every nominating commission, are appointed by the governor. Lawyer members are appointed by joint action of the governor, attorney general, and chief justice.
In 1966, Colorado citizens passed a Consitutional Amendment to end the partisan election of judges. The two pertinent sections of the constitution are as follows:
Section 20. Vacancies. (1) A vacancy in any judicial office in any court of record shall be filled by appointment of the governor, from a list of three nominees for the supreme court and any intermediate appellate court, and from a list of two or three nominees for all other courts of record, such list to be certified to him by the supreme court nominating commission for a vacancy in the supreme court or a vacancy in any intermediate appellate court, and by the judicial district nominating commission for a vacancy in any other court in that district. In case of more than one vacancy in any such court, the list shall contain not less than two more nominees than there are vacancies to be filled. The list shall be submitted by the nominating commission not later than thirty days after the death, retirement, tender of resignation, removal under section 23, failure of an incumbent to file a declaration under section 25, or certification of a negative majority vote on the question of retention in office under section 25 hereof. If the governor shall fail to make the appointment (or all of the appointments in case of multiple vacancies) from such list within fifteen days from the day it is submitted to him, the appointment (or the remaining appointments in case of multiple vacancies) shall be made by the chief justice of the supreme court from the same list within the next fifteen days. A justice or judge appointed under the provisions of this section shall hold office for a provisional term of two years and then until the second Tuesday in January following the next general election. A nominee shall be under the age of seventytwo years at the time his name is submitted to the governor.
Section 24. Judicial nominating commissions. (1) There shall be one judicial nominating commission for the supreme court and any intermediate appellate court to be called the supreme court nominating commission and one judicial nominating commission for each judicial district in the state. (2) The supreme court nominating commission shall consist of the chief justice or acting chief justice of the supreme court, ex officio, who shall act as chairman and shall have no vote, one citizen admitted to practice law before the courts of this state and one other citizen not admitted to practice law in the courts of this state residing in each congressional district in the state, and one additional citizen not admitted to practice law in the courts of this state. No more than onehalf of the commission members plus one, exclusive of the chief justice, shall be members of the same political party. Three voting members shall serve until December 31, 1967, three until December 31, 1969, and three until December 31, 1971. Thereafter each voting member appointed shall serve until the 31st of December of the 6th year following the date of his appointment.
- Colorado Supreme Court
- Colorado Court of Appeals
- Colorado Supreme Court Elections (2009)
- Colorado District Courts