A year-end restrospective on an impactful 2013 in Colorado courts
Another tumultuous year has come and gone for the Colorado judiciary - and although Colorado Citizens and taxpayers have again been hammered by the gavels of Colorado judges pounding their personal preferences over the will of the people - and the rule of law - this last year has also seen some striking victories in the Colorado Courts.
Some cases from previous years continue to impact events and conditions in the state, and others continue to slog their way through the courts (the wheels of justice can turn slowly).
After the Colorado courts decided the boundaries for Congressional districts (once the state senate reprised the 2000 playbook of abdicating responsibility to send it to the courts) and state legislative districts (when the Colorado Supreme Court approved the legislative maps drawn by the Colorado Reapportionment Commission in 2011), Colorado's electoral destiny in 2012 was almost a foregone conclusion.
Colorado Courts (specifically, Denver District Court Judge Michael Martinez) rejected a constitutional challenge to the ‘FASTER’ Colorado Car Tax (on the basis of violations of Article X, Section 20 – Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, TABOR) although that ruling is being appealed (and Judge Martinez is among the most-overturned judges on the Denver District Court).
Ironically, the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals started 2013 by moving into the palatial new 'Colorado Judicial Center' (at significant taxpayer expense and incurring massive new "non-debt" debt) in violation of the TABOR requirement to seek voter approval before incurring debt - a monument to an imperial, unaccountable state judiciary.
On the positive side, 2013 saw some tremendously impactful rulings in Colorado courts:
- In February, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the Douglas School Voucher program
- In April, the Colorado Supreme Court reversed a Public Utilities Commission ban on new taxi companies in Denver
- In May, the “new & improved” (minus Mullarkey & Martinez) Colorado Supreme Court overturned the Lobato school funding lawsuit, upholding the constitutionality of the state’s school funding and saving Colorado taxpayers over $1 BILLION annually (as predicted by CTBC’s analysis of the case)
- Summer was dominated by a series of legal challenges surrounding the historic Colorado Recall elections – most importantly, the successful case that kept the Recall vote from being conducted as an “all-mail-ballot” election (see, “Court Battles key in Colorado Recall Election victories”).
- Finally, even the November 2013 election results are still being fought in court:
- A recently-enacted state election law has been challenged in court
- A court awarded an ineligible candidate an election “win” (and the “win” is being appealed)
- Bans on “fracking” passed in 4 Colorado cities will likely be struck down by court challenges
Three years ago, the outcomes of those cases would have been different. Three years ago, thanks to your help, Colorado citizens sent a loud and clear message to the judiciary: rule based on the constitution and the law, not political whims. That’s all we want. Oh, and BTW: we’re watching.