Colorado has not seen the type of expensive campaigns and negative ads that have been typical in other states’ judicial elections, because Colorado Supreme Court justices are initially appointed to the bench. And while justices do periodically face retention elections, these elections have historically been low spending affairs without TV advertising.
In 2010, three justices on Colorado’s Supreme Court — Michael L. Bender, Alex J. Martinez, and Nancy Rice — sat for retention elections. Despite attacks on the justices by a group called Clear the Bench Colorado — which accused the justices of judicial activism — all three were retained with approximately 60% “yes” votes.
During the election season, several groups in Colorado sponsored a public education campaign to provide voters with impartial, nonpartisan information about the judges appearing on Colorado’s ballot. These groups — including the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, the League of Women Voters of Colorado, the Colorado Judicial Institute, and the Colorado Bar Association — launched a website called “KnowYourJudge.com,” and produced a television and radio public service announcement aimed at alerting voters to available resources that provided information relating to Colorado’s judicial elections. (The groups did not endorse or oppose any judicial candidates, and did not air any electioneering communications.)
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August 1, 2010 – Your Story
The Colorado Bar Association urges citizens to inform themselves about judicial candidates.
Nevada Voters Reject Judicial Ballot Measures, Associated Press, November 3, 2010.
Doug Mcmurdo, Voters Reject Changing Judge Selection, Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 3, 2010.
Tony Mauro, The Ethics of Justice O’Connor’s Robo-Calls, BLT: Blog of Legal Times, October 27, 2010.
Martha Bellisle, Judicial change is up to voters, Reno Gazette-Journal, October 25, 2010.
David McGrath Schwartz, Company fired after thousands of Nevadans get 1 a.m. campaign call, Las Vegas Sun, October 25, 2010.
Clear The Bench Colorado Subject To Contribution Limits, Judge Decides, Law Week Colorado, September 24, 2010.
Marianne Goodland, Judges up for retention face widespread scrutiny this year, The Colorado Statesman, July 16, 2010.
Lynn Bartels, Proposed 2012 ballot measure would change Colo. judicial system, The Denver Post, July 5, 2010.