During the recent election, Colorado’s Supreme Court judges survived an attempt to oust them from office but now a new effort is underway to limit the justices to a mere two-year term.
A proposed ballot measure filed today would change the current term of office for Colorado Supreme Court judges from 10 years to two years, meaning every two years voters in Colorado would decide whether to retain them or oust them.
The measure, filed by Peter Coulter and Howard Sherman, impacts only Supreme Court justices and not those serving on the Court of Appeals, district courts or county courts. The 22 appeals court judges, for example, serve eight-year terms. In addition, under the proposal, the chief justice of the Supreme Court could only serve in that role for two years at a time.
The proposed measure was filed with the Legislative Council, the first in a series of steps to getting a proposal on the ballot. If successful, voters would weigh in on the issue in the 2012 general election.
A group called Clear The Bench unsuccessfully tried to get voters this year to oust the three Supreme Court justices up for retention. Voters chose to retain justices Nancy Rice, Michael Bender and Alex Martinez. There are seven Supreme Court justices.
Colorado’s current system of picking judges was approved by voters in 1966. The method as well as current judges are described at knowyourjudge.com/, a website sponsored in part by the Colorado Bar Association.