The Denver Post blog, The Rap Sheet, has a short post noting that Governor Hickenlooper will have the opportunity to nominate a new justice to replace Justice Martinez on the Colorado Supreme Court. Yesterday, Justice Martinez announced his intention to resign at the end of October to become Denver's new manager of safety.
The Post's blog entry is accurate as far as it goes. However, what it overlooks is that with Justice Martinez's intended resignation Governor Hickenlooper will name at least two justices to the Supreme Court during his current term as governor.
Article VI, Sec. 23(1) of the Colorado Constitution requires that state court judges, including justices of the Colorado Supreme Court, retire upon "attaining the age of seventy-two." According to his biography on the Court's website, Chief Justice Bender will turn 72 on January 7, 2014. At that time, Governor Hickenlooper will have almost exactly one year left in his current term and will have the opportunity to appoint a new justice to the Court. Thus, absent any additional retirements from among the current justices, Governor Hickenlooper will have at least two appointments during his current term.
The retirement of Chief Justice Bender will also result in the election of a new chief justice. Unlike the federal judiciary where the president appoints an individual to serve as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the seven justices of the Colorado Supreme Court elect one of their own to serve as chief justice. Based purely on my own idle speculation, I'm going to borrow an idea from the Colorado Pols website and argue that the Big Line would have Justice Rice (75%) as the early favorite to succeed Chief Justice Bender.