COURT CRAWL | Standing of Biden’s judicial nominees, main civil rights selections | Courts
Welcome to Court Crawl, Colorado Politics’ round-up of news from the third branch of government. After a week’s hiatus, there’s plenty to cover, including the Senate hearing for a Colorado lawyer and some major civil rights rulings from the federal courts here.
Careful examination of Biden’s candidate
• Some Republican senators object to the work of the federal defender Veronica S. Rossmann, President Joe Biden’s candidate for a vacancy in Colorado in the 12-person appellate court that covers Colorado. Rossman appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 9 for a confirmatory hearing asking questions about her cases seeking early release of federal prisoners.
• “Don’t you think that someone like that poses a serious threat to the community?”U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and asked Rossman why she was applying for pre-trial detention for a man who, despite his criminal record, was stockpiling guns, ammunition, and machine guns.
• “She fought for the American ideal that everyone deserves equal justice under the law.” –US Sen. Michael Bennet, praised Rossman’s defense work when he was introduced to the committee. She would be the only public defender in court.
• If confirmed, Rossman would sit in the US 10th District Court of Appeals, which hears federal appeals from Colorado and five neighboring states. Given the small number of cases considered by the US Supreme Court, the district courts have significant powers to resolve the law in their geographic areas.
• That same week, Rossman appeared before the Senate, another Biden candidate from Colorado left the pipeline: Regina M. Rodriguez received a 72-28 vote for her nomination as trial judge in the seven-member U.S. District Court for Colorado.
• Rodriguez becomes the first Asian American person to be confirmed on the federal bank in Colorado. She is a former federal and corporate attorney who first nominated President Barack Obama for the district court in 2016. The GOP-controlled Senate refused to allow her to be heard, even though she had the support of the Republican Senate. Cory Gardner.
• Along with Julien Xavier Neals of New Jersey, Rodriguez is one of the first Biden government candidates to be sustained as the White House and Senate work to fill approximately 110 current and future positions.
Veronica S. Rossman, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the U.S. 10th District Court of Appeals, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 9, 2021.
In this file photo, Regina M. Rodriguez, who was nominated as the U.S. District Judge for the Colorado District, says from the Senate on Tuesday during her Senate Justice Committee confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 , June 8, 2021, confirmed on the bank.
Eyes on Colorado
• Two major civil rights rulings came from federal courts last week that have attracted national attention. First, the 10th District reopened a lawsuit against the University of Denver of a former male student who alleged that the sexual assault investigation against him and his subsequent expulsion were motivated by anti-male prejudice. If so, it would appear to be in violation of Title IX, the federal law prohibiting discrimination in education based on sex.
• Second, civil liberties advocates were frustrated this spring when the 10th District refused to say whether the First Amendment protects the right to record police officers in public, despite federal courts elsewhere ruling that such a right exists. But now, US judge Nina Y. Wang has specifically stated that the first amendment applies to the inclusion of police officers, which may give impetus to future lawsuits against police departments.
Eyes on SCOTUS
• The US Supreme Court is nearing the end of its term and is issuing several important decisions. Colorado’s Democrats responded positively to one of them who upheld the Affordable Care Act after yet another unsuccessful challenge from Republicans.
• There is also a pending statement on additional student rights. Amiah Hanson, a member of the Durango school board, was the only Colorado student to join a Supreme Court pleading demanding a restriction on the school administration’s ability to punish students for extracurricular speech.
The U.S. Supreme Court is seen under a stormy sky in Washington on June 20, 2019.
From the Judges: Colorado Edition
• Meanwhile, the Colorado Supreme Court has issued a steady barrage of decisions, some of which have far-reaching implications. Prosecutors observed whether the judges would consider these sentences illegal for sex offenders, which combine prison and probation with probation. Previously, the court abolished these types of combination sentences for non-sexual offenses. But with a 5-2 ruling, the judges declined to extend this ban to sex crimes.
• “Sex offenses are different.” – Justice Carlos A. Samour, Jr.
• Good news if you earn paid vacation at work: Your employer cannot withhold payment for your vacation time upon termination of your employment, the court ruled.
• Bad news if you’re a county trying to evade the state’s environmental protection agency, the solid waste law actually gives the Colorado Health Department the power to force counties to comply with toxic waste landfill cleaning guidelines.
• A lawyer did not have the right to slander a judge without consequence against a judge, so did the judges.
The law on equal pay is in place for the time being
• Local and national media have picked up on the trend of Colorado employers not promoting teleworking, allegedly to circumvent a new law that requires disclosure of salary ranges in job postings, among other things. A group of recruiters challenged the law and asked a federal judge to prevent the January 1 salary disclosure from taking effect. He refused.
It is “the general conclusion that women may be better able to advocate for advancement and pay if they are informed of job vacancies and are given an expected pay range for each position.” —Justice of the US District Court William J. Martinez, Judgment on the Law on Equal Pay for Equal Work.