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Nancy Rice

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Nancy Rice
CO rice.jpg
Court Information:
Colorado Supreme Court
Title:   Chief Justice
Salary:  $148,000
Appointed by:   Gov. Roy Romer
Active:   1998-2021
Past post:   Judge, Colorado Second District Court
Past term:   1987-1998
Past post 2:   Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Colorado
Past term 2:   1977-1987
Personal History
Born:   6/2/1950
Undergraduate:   Tufts University, 1972
Law School:   University of Utah College of Law, 1975

Nancy E. Rice is the chief justice on the seven member Colorado Supreme Court. She was first appointed to the court in August of 1998 by Governor Roy Romer. Justice Rice was successfully retained in 2000 and 2010. Her current term expires in January of 2021.[1] She was named chief justice in 2013.[2]


Rice earned her undergraduate degree from Tufts University in 1972 and her J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law in 1975.[1]


Awards and associations


  • 1998: Award for Judicial Merit, Phi Alpha Delta
  • 1996-1997: Best Litigation Article Award, Colorado Bar Association
  • 1993: Judicial Excellence Award, Denver Bar Association


  • Member, Denver Bar Association
  • Member, Colorado Bar Association
  • Member, Women's Bar Association
  • Member, Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee, 1998
  • Master, Rhone-Brackett Inn of Court, 1993-1997
  • Member, Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on the Revision of the Colorado Civil Rules, 1994
  • Member, Colorado Bar Association, Executive Council 1991-1992
  • Co-chair, Women Judges Association, National Conference in Denver, 1990
  • Former Member, Colorado Bar Association, Board of Governors
  • Editor-in Chief, University of Utah Journal of Contemporary Law[1]



Colorado Supreme Court, Associate Justice
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Nancy Rice Green check mark transparent.png 891,962 62%
Against retention 548,633 38%
  • Click here for 2010 General Election Results from the Colorado Secretary of State.
Main article: Colorado judicial elections, 2010


There was a movement headed by judicial reform organization Clear the Bench Colorado not to retain Justice Bender, along with the other three justices up for a 2010 retention vote.[3] Critics of the court say "the majority of the justices' rulings on property taxes, eminent domain and congressional redistricting have violated the state's constitution or are clearly partisan".[4]

Performance evaluations

The Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation voted unanimously to recommend Rice for retention. The COJPE reviews the answers of attorneys and District Judges and asked a variety of questions to determine the Judge's performance. The score is rated on a 4 point scale similar to school grades. Since 1990, which was the first election year after the statutory creation of judicial performance commissions and the use of performance evaluations, all Colorado Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals judges standing for retention have received "do retain" recommendations.[5] Until 2010 no additional information on judicial performance has been made available to the public.

Question classification Attorney score District Judge score Combined average
Impartiality 3.59 3.36 3.48
Clear opinions 3.49 3.30 3.4
Adequate explanation of opinion 3.54 3.39 3.47
Timely response 3.37 3.25 3.31
Response without criticism 3.59 3.58 3.59
Response based on law 3.57 3.26 3.42
Not ruling on extra issues 3.4 3.24 3.32
Respect towards all parties 3.81 3.71 3.76
No ex parte communications 3.81 3.78 3.8
Overall 3.3 3.57 3.44
  • Read another Evaluation of Judicial Performance for Justice Rice here.

Political affiliations

Judge Nancy Rice is currently listed as "nonpartisan." Because judges in Colorado are selected on merit by the governor, she has no campaign contributions.

Political ideology

See also: Political outlook of state supreme court justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Rice received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -0.27, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is less liberal than the average CF score of -0.29 that justices received in Colorado. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[7]

See also

External links


ColoradoColorado Supreme CourtColorado Court of AppealsColorado District CourtsColorado county courtsDenver Probate Court, ColoradoDenver Juvenile CourtUnited States District Court for the District of ColoradoUnited States Court of Appeals for the Tenth CircuitColorado countiesColorado judicial newsColorado judicial electionsJudicial selection in ColoradoColoradoTemplatewithoutBankruptcy.jpg