News Now: Your One Minute Legal Insight (Embryos, Marijuana, TABOR, and More)

By Chris Jackson

As always, there are a lot of topics to cover in this edition of News Now. Here are your highlights:

  • Event with Colorado’s Solicitor General. On March 6, please join us at Sherman & Howard’s Denver office to hear Solicitor General Fred Yarger talk about his practice before the US Supreme Court — including his work in Masterpiece Cakeshop, the case of the Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. You can RSVP here.
  • Justice Hart takes the bench. On January 9, Melissa Hart heard her first oral arguments as the state’s newest supreme court justice. First up on the docket was Rooks v. Rooks, an appeal involving a dispute between former spouses over their frozen pre-embryos. That case was covered in depth by the Washington Post and Denver Post, which both quote attorney Chris Jackson’s amicus brief.
  • Colorado Supreme Court will hear oil and gas appeal. Last Monday the Colorado Supreme Court granted cert in the Martinez case to consider how the state’s oil and gas commission should factor public health, safety, and welfare in making decisions about oil and gas drilling. We expect this to be one of the Court’s most closely watched cases in 2018.
  • DOJ retracts the Cole Memorandum. Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally retracted the Cole Memorandum, a policy that discouraged federal prosecutors from bringing marijuana-related charges in states where the drug is legal under state law. Bob Troyer, Colorado’s current US Attorney, issued a statement suggesting his office won’t make any dramatic changes in its charging decisions. But keep in mind that Troyer’s appointment expires in about 2 months. That means that the Trump Administration’s pick for the post is taking on particular importance.
  • S&H completes investigation of Arizona House of Representatives. Attorneys Craig Morgan and Lindsay Hesketh completed their investigation into allegations of harassment and inappropriate conduct involving two members of the Arizona legislature. According to their report, they “found credible evidence that a sitting male representative violated the House of Representatives’ Policy against Workplace Harassment.”
  • Doug Bruce’s habeas petition rejected by the Tenth Circuit. The Tenth Circuit denied well-known TABOR proponent Doug Bruce’s request to appeal the denial of his habeas petition. The case arose out of Bruce’s 2012 conviction for tax evasion. If you’re interested in more background, check out The Taxman, a great podcast by CPR News covering Bruce and his efforts to pass TABOR.

Chris Jackson is a litigator at Sherman & Howard whose practice lies at the intersection of private and public law. He frequently writes and comments on appellate law, elections, and campaign finance (particularly in Colorado). Follow Chris on Twitter at @COAppeals.