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State of Colorado

Methods of Judicial Selection: Colorado

Judicial Nominating Commissions

When a vacancy occurs on the supreme court, court of appeals, district court, or county court, a judicial nominating commission recommends to the governor qualified candidates to fill the vacancy. Three names are submitted for appellate court vacancies, and two or three are submitted for trial court vacancies. The governor must appoint a judge from the nominating commission's list.

The supreme court nominating commission, which recommends candidates to fill vacancies on the state's appellate courts, is composed of fifteen members: the chief justice, who serves as a non-voting chair, one lawyer from each of the state's seven congressional districts, and one nonlawyer from each congressional district. There is a judicial district nominating commission for each of Colorado's twenty-two judicial districts. District nominating commissions, which recommend candidates for vacancies on the district and county courts, consist of a supreme court justice, who serves as a non-voting chair, and seven residents of the judicial district. In districts with populations greater than 35,000, there are three lawyer members and four nonlawyer members. In districts with populations less than 35,000, at least four members are nonlawyers, and it is determined by majority vote of the governor, attorney general, and chief justice how many members will be lawyers.

Lawyer members of these commissions are appointed by majority action of the governor, attorney general, and chief justice; nonlawyer members are appointed by the governor. Excluding the supreme court justice who serves on the commission, no more than half the commission members plus one may belong to the same political party. Commission members serve six-year terms. Click here for links to commission rules.

For more information, see Judicial Merit Selection: Current Status.

Nominating Commission Costs

  • $15,510 (2007)
  • $10,535 (2006)
  • $13,205 (2005)