News Now: Your One Minute Legal Insight (Election Results, School Vouchers, and Judicial Appointments)

It’s been another busy few weeks for public law here in Colorado. Here are the highlights:

  • November 7 elections. Last week voters across the country went to the polls, and Democrats made significant gainsHere at home, anti-voucher candidates scored a big win in the nationally watched race for the Douglas County school board. And in Denver, residents approved a $937 million bond package. (Full state election results are here.)
  • The end of the legal challenge to school vouchers? Back in 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court held that DougCo’s school voucher program violated the state constitution. But in June 2017, the US Supreme Court “GVR’d” the case, summarily vacating the Colorado decision and remanding for reconsideration in light of a new opinion SCOTUS issued in another appeal. The matter is before the state supreme court now, but we may not ever see a decision: if the newly elected anti-voucher majority cancels the voucher program, the case will almost certainly be moot, and the court will dismiss the appeal.
  • US Senate confirms Eid’s nomination to 10th Circuit. Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid will be the newest judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. On November 2, the US Senate voted 56 to 41 to confirm her nomination. Both of Colorado’s Senators—Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R)—voted in favor.
  • Hickenlooper will fill his fourth Supreme Court seat. With Eid’s move to the Byron White Courthouse, Governor John Hickenlooper will appoint his fourth Colorado Supreme Court Justice. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission will consider applications and send three names on to the Governor, who must select one of them. With this appointment, Hickenlooper’s 4 appointees will command a majority on the 7-member court.
  • Redistricting measures move forward. Colorado’s Title Board formally set a title for two proposed measures that would put state legislative and congressional redistricting in the hands of a bipartisan commission. But as the Colorado Independent explains, there’s a question about whether the League of Women Voters backs the measure, as had been previously reported.

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.