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Diversity on the Bench

Diverse people extending their arms to hold up the scales of justice

CJI supports the work of the Diversity on the Bench coalition, whose goal is to ensure Colorado's courts reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.

The Diversity on the Bench initiative started in 2019 under the leadership of Hon. Gary Jackson, who served on the Denver County Court. Judge Jackson noticed the lack of diversity on Colorado's bench and vowed to address the problem. 

Priority geographic areas for work have included Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, El Paso, and Pueblo Counties. Diversity is not limited but begins with traditionally underrepresented communities within gender, race/ethnicity/national origin, and LGBTQ identity. 

Read the original Concept Paper (PDF) from 2019 and Action Plan from 2020.

Areas of Work and Key Goals

As outlined in the original Action Plan linked above. Note the Action Plan document contains additional detail including strategies and action items.

  • Diverse candidates

    Goal 1: Promote education opportunities prior to law school.
    Goal 2: Conduct robust recruitment in law schools.
    Goal 3: Recruit diverse candidates to apply for judicial vacancies.
    Goal 4: Support and develop diverse candidates.
    Goal 5: Promote law firm responsibility to encourage diverse attorneys to apply.

  • Nominating commissions

    Goal 1: Recruit and appoint applicants for Judicial Nominating Commissions who are committed to diversity.
    Goal 2: Support ongoing and mandatory training for members of Judicial Nominating Commissions.

  • Deciding officials

    Goal 1: Educate decision-makers on the importance of having a diverse bench.
    Goal 2: Create a plan to encourage buy-in from deciding officials.
    Goal 3: Target influential Colorado companies who have the decision makers.

  • Accountability & tracking

    Goal 1: Use data to bust myths and solve the right problems.
    Goal 2: Make data easily accessible.

  • Messaging and promoting / communications

    Goal 1: Widely publicize the lack of judicial diversity.
    Goal 2: Use empathy and the power of personal stories.
    Goal 3: Publicize accomplishments of diverse judges.
    Goal 4: Publicize the work of the coalition.


The following reports document the status of diversity on Colorado's bench. These reports are produced by Sumi Lee, Head of Judicial Diversity Outreach for the Colorado Judicial Department.

Get Involved!

If you are interested in helping with Diversity on the Bench work, please complete the volunteer form on the Volunteer page.