Voters should oppose Amendment 40, the one that seeks to retroactively impose term limits on justices of the Colorado Supreme Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals. Common sense should persuade voters that giving future governors so much power to appoint many members of the courts would not be good public policy.
For example, under this proposed amendment, appellate judges who have served 10 years or more would have to leave their current positions in January 2009. This would force five of the current Supreme Court justices and seven Court of Appeals judges to leave their posts in January 2009.
The problem with this — in addition to changing the rules in the middle of the game — is that this would further clog our state court system, and it would hand the governor far too much concentrated power to influence the judicial branch of government, which should remain as independent as possible.
In the words of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Amendment 40 would do “nothing to enhance judicial accountability and would undermine judicial independence.”
Suthers added, Amendment 40 “will greatly impact the quality of our judicial system, resulting in fewer well-qualified lawyers seeking public service as judges.”
And, as pointed out by the bipartisan committee against Amendment 40, “The measure has no plan for keeping the courts operating efficiently while replacing nearly half of Colorado’s highest judges.”
Colorado’s court system is not perfect, but, in many ways, it operates well to serve the needs of the citizens. Colorado’s court system does need the ideas and active involvement of the residents of Colorado to reach its highest potential. Adopting an extreme measure that would cause so much chaos would not be in the best interests of the state or its people.
Vote no on Amendment 40.