All Colorado judges would be limited to three terms of four years each, beginning in 2010, under a constitutional amendment proposed by a citizens group hoping to qualify it by petition for the 2008 ballot. Limit the Judges, a campaign committee headed by former Senate President John Andrews, took the first step today toward getting its proposal approved by the Secretary of State so signature-gathering can begin.
Andrews led last year's unsuccessful campaign for Amendment 40, which would have placed a "ten years and out" limit on state Supreme Court justices and Appeals Court judges, including incumbents. He said the revised plan differs in applying uniformly to judges all levels, raising the limit to 12 years, and excluding incumbents.
"This approach could have won in 2006," Andrews said, "especially the provisions taking in district judges and avoiding retroactivity. We expect it will be a winner in 2008, building on more than half a million votes that we received from people who agree our courts lack accountability."
"Colorado still needs judicial reform, even though it was blocked last year by a campaign of distortion from self-interested lawyers and judges," he added. "Judges too often legislate from the bench, and we keep seeing examples of individuals with virtual lifetime appointments whose character is deficient."
Andrews noted that while judges in this state face periodic retention elections and aren't appointed for life, they enjoy a retention rate of over 99% under the current judicial performance review system, which he called "toothless."
He said his organization, Limit the Judges, is recruiting local leaders and beginning to fundraise toward a campaign goal of $2 million.