Mary Mullarkey

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Mary Mullarkey
Colorado Supreme Court Justice
Assumed office
Political partyNonpartisan

Mary Mullarkey was the Chief Justice of the seven-member Colorado Supreme Court. She was appointed to the court as a justice by then-governor Roy Romer, a Democrat, in 1987. In 1998, she was selected by her fellow justices to serve as the court's presiding justice. Mullarkey retired from the court on November 30, 2010.[1]


Mullarkey received her undergraduate degree from St. Norbert College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Professional career

After graduating from Harvard Law in 1968, Mullarkey went to Washington, DC to work for the Interior Department. From 1975 to 1982, she specialized in appellate practice, first while heading the Appellate Section in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and then while serving as Colorado’s Solicitor General. She has also served as the legal adviser to Governor Richard D. Lamm, held legal positions with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of the Interior, and engaged in the private practice of law.[2][3]

Awards and associations

In 2010, Mullarkey received the Herbert Harley Award from the American Judicature Society.[4]

Mullarkey has received the 2002 Mary Lathrop award from the Colorado Women’s Bar Association and the 2003 Judicial Excellence award from the Denver Bar Association.

Chief Justice Mullarkey is Co-Chairman of The Permanent Committee on Gender & Fairness of the Colorado Supreme Court along with James Benway, Court Administrator of the Colorado Judicial Branch.[3][5]

Political affiliation

Mullarkey is considered to be a Democrat, although her official party affiliation is "nonpartisan."

Because Colorado implemented merit selection of judges over 40 years ago, she has no campaign contributions.

On Merit Selection

In November 1966, Colorado voters adopted an amendment to the state constitution changing how judges are selected. As a result, the state’s judges are selected through merit selection. May 1, 2006, through April 30, 2007, Colorado will celebrate the 40-year anniversary of merit selection of judges in Colorado.

“Forty years ago, Colorado took a great step forward in building a better state,” says Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey. “Voters abandoned the partisan political election of judges that had prevailed since statehood, and adopted the merit selection of judges.[6]
“It was a bold and visionary move,” continues Mullarkey. “No longer would judges be subject to political whims, from that time on judges have been held accountable to the constitution and laws.”

External links


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