By Matt Masich, LAW WEEK COLORADO
DENVER — Monica Marquez will be announced as the 101st justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, two sources have independently told Law Week Colorado.
Gov. Bill Ritter is to announce the selection at 2:30 p.m. today in his office.
Ritter appears to have made his first, and presumably only, Supreme Court pick with an eye toward ensuring his judicial legacy carries on well after the end of his term. Marquez, now 41 years old, will be able to serve on the bench for another three decades before she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 72.
Marquez will be the first Latina and first openly gay person to serve on the state’s high court. She is the second Latina appointed to the state appellate courts this month; Ritter appointed Terry Fox to the Court of Appeals on Sept. 1.
Marquez, deputy Colorado attorney general in charge of the office’s state services section, is to fill the vacancy left when Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey retires Nov. 30. She is Ritter’s first appointment to the state’s seven-member Supreme Court.
Marquez got her law degree from Yale Law School in 1997, and clerked for 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Ebel and U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor in Massachusetts. After several years as an associate at Holme Roberts & Owen, she joined the Attorney General’s office in 2002, where she represents the offices of the governor, secretary of state, treasurer and other state officials.
Beside being female, Marquez has a lot in common with Mullarkey, the justice she will replace on the bench. Both came from the Attorney General’s office and have extensive background in the type of government law that generates some of the most controversial cases that come before the Supreme Court. Mullarkey was just two years older than Marquez when she was appointed by Gov. Roy Romer in 1987.
Marquez has often represented the state in Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, cases. For instance, she was lead counsel for the governor in Barber v. Ritter, the case in which the state Supreme Court agreed with her argument that fees are not taxes and are not subject to voter approval under TABOR.
Marquez is a past-president of the Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association and a board member of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. She is also the daughter of former Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Jose D.L. Marquez, the first Latino to serve on that court.
Also in the running for the position on the Supreme Court were Court of Appeals Judge Bob Russel and 4th Judicial District Judge David Prince.