By: Tara Trujillo
Today, U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet applauded the Senate Judiciary Committee's unanimous vote on Thursday to confirm Judge R. Brooke Jackson's nomination to serve as U.S. District Court Judge in Colorado. Jackson would fill the last vacancy on Colorado's U.S. District Court, which has been rated a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Jackson received 36 bipartisan letters of support from Colorado judges, lawyers, and law enforcement and government officials, including former U.S. Attorney Troy Eid, current U.S. Attorney John Walsh, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and former Speaker of the Colorado House Norma Anderson. His nomination can now be considered before the full Senate.
"Colorado's federal court hasn't had a full roster of judges in three years, which overburdens the sitting judges and creates a backlog of cases that are unfair to Coloradans. Brooke Jackson is highly regarded within Colorado's legal community and epitomizes the qualities we want in a judge," Udall said. "I urge the Senate to consider his nomination quickly so that Colorado will get the judge we need to better serve our state. I also hope we can make some common-sense changes in the way the Senate does business to ensure judges can be confirmed and seated more quickly."
"Judge Jackson is an impressively experienced and seasoned jurist," Bennet said. "He has extensive knowledge of a wide variety of types of cases important to the people of Colorado. His many years overseeing thousands of cases in Colorado's courts have prepared him now to serve in a long-vacant seat on the federal bench."
Udall and Bennet recommended Jackson for the position after a lengthy and detailed selection process. Obama nominated Jackson for the first time in fall 2010, but for scheduling reasons, the Senate Judiciary Committee wasn't able to consider his nomination before the end of the 111th Congress. Obama re-nominated him in January, on the first day of the 112th Congress.
Jackson now serves as the chief judge of the 1st Judicial District in Colorado, which covers Jefferson and Gilpin Counties in the Denver area. He was appointed to the bench in 1998, and named chief judge in 2003. Jackson received his J.D. in 1972 from Harvard Law School and his A.B. in 1969 from Dartmouth College.
Jackson was one of six potential nominees sent jointly by Udall and Bennet to the Obama Administration to fill two judicial vacancies. The Senators relied on advice of a diverse, bipartisan advisory panel made up primarily of lawyers with federal court experience and co-chaired by former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Kourlis, and Hal Haddon, a prominent Colorado lawyer. Other panel members were Joseph Garcia, Dale Harris, Diane King, Michelle Lucero, Raymond Moore, Lori Potter, Dan Reilly, and Ken Spann. The panel reviewed 37 applications and interviewed the top 20. The selection system was based on a model endorsed by the American Bar Association and embraced increasingly by Senators from other states around the country. As requested by Obama, the Senators submitted three names for each vacancy.