Today, U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet announced that the full Senate has confirmed Judge R. Brooke Jackson's nomination to serve as U.S. District Court judge in Colorado. Jackson will fill the last vacancy on Colorado's federal district court, which has been rated a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. With Jackson's confirmation, Colorado now has a full bench for the first time in over three years.
"Brooke Jackson is highly regarded within Colorado's legal community and epitomizes the qualities we want in a judge," Udall said. "I was proud to fight hard to confirm Judge Jackson and ensure Colorado's justice system works well for our citizens. 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 will make a tremendous addition to Colorado's U.S. District Court," said Bennet. "Colorado has been without a full bench for far too long, in part because Washington can't get its act together and approve qualified nominees. It's my hope that Judge Jackson's addition to the bench will ensure Colorado's district court can operate in a smooth, timely and efficient manner."
Udall and Bennet recommended Jackson for the position after a lengthy and detailed selection process. President 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.