March 28, 2018 – Spring has sprung, and we’ve had another busy month on the public law front. Here are your highlights:
- Chief Justice Rice will retire. Chief Justice Nancy Rice has announced her retirement effective July 1 of this year. The Denver Post quotes attorney Chris Jackson in noting that this gives Governor Hickenlooper a fifth seat to fill on the seven-member Court.
- Federal court strikes down Amendment 71. A federal judge has declared that a portion of Amendment 71, the “Raise the Bar” initiative, violates the Equal Protection Clause’s “one person, one vote” rule. The Colorado Independent quotes attorney Chris Jackson and notes that the state will appeal to the 10th Circuit, which must decide the case quickly to avoid a “legal quagmire.”
- General Assembly expels Lebsock. For the first time in over 100 years, the Colorado legislature removed one of its own from office. The House voted 52 to 9 to expel Rep. Steve Lebsock, who was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. In a surprising twist, Lebsock switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican less than an hour before the final vote.
- Lebsock is out; Winkler is in. Because of Lebsock’s last-minute switch to the Republican Party, the GOP was able to fill his seat with Alex “Skinny” Winkler of Northglenn. While no one has filed a court challenge, legal questions remain regarding the appointment.
- Ryan Warner interviews Craig Morgan. Ryan Warner of Colorado Matters interviewed attorney Craig Morgan about sexual harassment allegations that have rocked the state capitol. Morgan, who conducted an investigation into similar allegations made against an Arizona state representative, offered his insights on the topic.
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.