Term Limits for Judges

October 2006
I don't often write opinion pieces here at 5280. But, having practiced as a lawyer in our state and federal courts for 30 years, I know a bad idea when I see one. Term limits for Colorado judges is a bad idea. The reasons that most resonate with me are:
  • They are unnecessary. We don't have lifetime appointments in Colorado and we have an adequate system of checks and balances
  • They will reduce the independence of the judiciary and make it more political.
  • They will reduce the caliber of those who apply to be judges.
Here is the proposal that will be on the November ballot. Colorado Media Matters explains the measure:
Currently, the governor appoints Colorado Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals judges who have been recommended by the state nominating committee. After serving a provisional two-year term, Supreme Court justices face retention elections and, if voters retain them, serve 10-year terms, facing retention elections at the end of each term. Court of Appeals judges also serve provisional two-year terms, followed by eight-year terms, and similarly face retention elections at the end of the provisional term and each subsequent full term.
Limiting judges is a bad idea. Please learn more about the consequences before you cast your vote. This isn't a defendant or plaintiff issue, or a partisan Democrat or Republican issue. Several former prosecutors have joined defense lawyers in opposing the initiative. Protect the independence of our judiciary. Vote No on Amendment 40.