[Note: CJI submitted this letter to the editor of The Denver Post on December 28, 2023, in response to guest commentary. The Denver Post did not publish the CJI letter.]
We write in response to Charlie Danaher's recent guest commentary, “Ruling could spell doom for democracy”, about the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision in Anderson v. Griswold.
Our organization, the Colorado Judicial Institute, is an independent, politically neutral nonprofit whose mission includes preserving the ability of Colorado’s judiciary – a coequal, independent branch of government – to decide cases fairly and impartially, based on facts and law and not extraneous influences.
Mr. Danaher has every right to disagree with the Anderson decision. But he goes beyond disagreement by attacking the decision’s authors and their motivations, characterizing the decision as “farcical” and stating it constitutes “legal madness,” “dedication to the anti-Trump tribe,” and a “witch hunt.” Such baseless commentary feeds misunderstanding and mistrust in our institutions and contributes to the polarization of our society.
Our Colorado justices did their job in deciding the Anderson case. The issues in Anderson are unusually complex, much more so than Mr. Danaher suggests. These issues, including “insurrection” and due process, have prompted principled disagreement and debate among legal experts of diverse political viewpoints. If wrongly decided, Anderson’s reversal should occur based on legal reasoning and precedent – that is, on the facts and law, not uninformed and irresponsible rhetoric.
Meanwhile our justices, simply by doing their job as government’s third branch, face widely reported threats under investigation by federal and state law enforcement. Impugning the judicial process and individuals charged with making difficult decisions on complex issues is not only unproductive in these fraught times – it is dangerous.