The Colorado Supreme Court is the court of highest authority within the State of Colorado. The Supreme Court is composed of seven justices, including a Chief Justice, who serve ten-year terms. The Chief Justice is selected from among the seven justices and serves at the pleasure of a majority of the justices.
The Chief Justice is the executive head of the Colorado Judicial System and also serves as the ex-officio chair of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. The Chief Justice appoints the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the Chief Judge of each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts. The Chief Justice also has the authority to assign judges (active or retired) to perform judicial duties.
Decisions of the Colorado Supreme Court are binding on all other Colorado state courts.
The Colorado Supreme Court has the power to review decisions of the Colorado Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court has the power of appellate review of every final judgment of the District Courts, and the Probate and Juvenile Courts of the City and County of Denver.
The Supreme Court also has direct appellate jurisdiction over:
- cases in which a statute has been held to be unconstitutional,
- cases involving decisions of the Public Utilities Commission,
- writs of habeas corpus,
- cases involving adjudication of water rights,
- summary proceedings initiated under the Election Code, and
- prosecutorial appeals concerning search and seizure questions in pending criminal proceedings.
Appeals from the cases listed above are filed directly with the Supreme Court bypassing the Court of Appeals in Colorado.
The Supreme Court has supervisory power over all other state courts and over all attorneys practicing law in Colorado. The Supreme Court also has exclusive jurisdiction to promulgate rules governing practice and procedure in civil and criminal actions. Colorado’s attorneys are licensed and disciplined by the attorney regulation system of the Supreme Court. In addition, the Supreme Court supervises the State Court Administrator, Board of Continuing Legal Education, Board of Law Examiners, Commission on Judicial Discipline, and Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.
Pursuant to Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution of Colorado, Supreme Court has the power to issue writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, certiorari, injunction, and such other original and remedial writs with the authority to hear and determine the same. The Supreme Court provides its opinion on important questions when required by the Governor, the Senate, or the House of Representatives.