John W. Suthers

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John W. Suthers
John Suthers.jpg
Attorney General of Colorado
In office
2005 - present
Term ends
January 13, 2015
Years in position 10
PredecessorKen Salazar (D)
Base salary$80,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 7, 2006
Next generalTerm-limited
Term limits2 consecutive terms
Prior offices
U.S. Attorney for District of Colorado
Executive Director, Colorado Dept of Corrections
High schoolSt. Mary's High School (1970)
Bachelor'sUniversity of Notre Dame (1974)
J.D.University of Colorado Law School (1977)
Date of birthOctober 18, 1951
Place of birthDenver, Colorado
Office website

John William Suthers (born October 18, 1951, in Denver, Colorado) is the current Republican Attorney General of Colorado. He was appointed to the position in 2005 by Governor Bill Owens following the election of Ken Salazar to the United States Senate.


Immediately upon graduating from law school, Suthers occupied the dual roles of Deputy and Chief Deputy District Attorney in Colorado Springs. He remained in those roles until 1981. From 1979 to 1981, he headed the Economic Crime Division of the District Attorney's Office. In 1981, Suthers became a litigation partner in the Colorado Springs-based private practice law firm, Sparxs Dix, P.C., where he stayed until 1988. He co-authored Fraud and Deceit: How to Stop Being Ripped Off, a book about consumer fraud and white-collar crime, in 1982.

  • President, El Paso County Bar Association (1990-1991)
  • Colorado Delegate, National Conference on Uniform State Laws (1992-1997)
  • President, Colorado District Attorney's Council (1994-1995)
  • Senior Vice President, Colorado Bar Association (1996-1997)


  • Graduated from St. Mary's High School (1970)
  • Bachelor's degree, University of Notre Dame (1974) in government
  • Juris Doctorate degree, University of Colorado Law School (1977)
  • Certificate in Government Executives Program, Harvard University (2000)

Political career

Colorado Attorney General (2005-Present)

As Colorado Attorney General, Suthers has made criminal justice and consumer protection his main priorities. He launched a Safe Surfing Initiative [1] to protect children from online predators. Legislation backed by Suthers made it a crime in Colorado to solicit a child online for a meeting. In the first two years of implementation, 250 alleged pedophiles were arrested on the new charges. [2] In 2005, he also convened a Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud Task Force to study the state's burgeoning foreclosure problems. As State AG, he backed legislation that sought to reduce appraisal fraud and criminalize unscrupulous foreclosure consulting.

During the 2008 legislative session, Suthers spearheaded two consumer protection initiatives. Senate Bill 77, dubbed the "Hannah Montana Bill", would criminalize the use of software to circumvent online ticket sales limits. The second measure would have banned most robocalls in the state of Colorado. Despite being heavily favored by Colorado citizens, the measure was quickly defeated by the legislative committee. Suthers served as co-chair of the National Association of Attorneys General criminal law committee. He also acted as one of four Attorneys General on United States Attorney General Michael Mukasey's Executive Working Group on Prosecutorial Relations, a group composed of federal, state, and local prosecutors from across the United States.

Healthcare reform

See also: State Attorneys General Against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

In the wake of the historic passage of President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation on Christmas Eve in 2009, Suthers joined fourteen other state attorneys general in questioning not only the constitutionality of a specific controversial provision within the Senate version of the bill, but also exploring potential legal challenges to the measure as well. The stipulation in question was the back room deal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid struck with Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson to recruit him as the 60th vote needed to pass the measure, an arrangement "dubbed the 'Nebraska Compromise' or the 'Cornhusker Kickback' by Republican critics." The agreement gave Nebraska exemption from its share of the Medicaid expansion, "a carve out that is expected to cost the federal government $100 million over 10 years." [3] [4]

On the same morning President Barack Obama signed into law his controversial health care reform measure, House Resolution 3590 - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the one that narrowly passed the United States House of Representatives just two days before, Suthers and twelve other state attorneys general, all but one of them being Republican, filed suit against "the federal government to stop the massive health care overhaul, claiming it's unconstitutional." [5] Suthers contended that the newly enacted health care law, in particular the "individual mandate" that requires citizens to purchase health insurance, "violates constitutional principles and lacks constitutional authority." [6]

Illegal immigration

Nearly two weeks after Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer (R) signed into law the controversial anti-illegal immigration law, Senate Bill 1070 - The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), Suthers refused to get his state involved in the fight against the federal government. Though he has said he believed that wave of illegal aliens coming into the country was a problem, Suther did not feel that "criminalizing immigration status on the state level is going to accomplish" anything. [7] Additionally, Suthers contended that the liberal make-up of the courts would "hold that states cannot criminalize immigration status" and that any fight in court over the matter would be fruitless. [8]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

John W. Suthers endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [9]

U.S. Attorney for District of Colorado (2001-2005)

Suthers was appointed in August 2001 as United States Attorney for the District of Colorado by President George W. Bush, being subsequently confirmed by the United States Senate unanimously.

Executive Director, Dept of Corrections (1999-2001)

In 1999, Suthers was appointed by Governor Bill Owens as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

District Attorney (1988-1999)

Suthers was elected District Attorney for the Fourth Judicial District in 1988 and was subsequently re-elected.



See also: Colorado Attorney General election, 2010
  • 2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
  • John Suthers ran unopposed in this contest
2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election [10]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda John W. Suthers 56.4%
     Democratic Party Stan Garnett 43.7%
Total Votes 1,703,893


  • 2006 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
    • John Suthers ran unopposed
2006 Race for Attorney General - General Election [11]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda John W. Suthers 52.5%
     Democratic Party Fern O'Brien 43.4%
     Libertarian Party Dwight K. Harding 4.2%
Total Votes 1,502,922

Campaign donors

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of John Suthers's donors each year.[12] Click [show] for more information.

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Suthers currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his wife, Janet. The couple has had two daughters together - Alison, a lawyer, and Kate, a United States Naval Officer. Suthers is also a practicing Roman Catholic.

See also

Contact Information

Capitol Address:
Colorado Attorney General
1525 Sherman Street, 7th Floor
Denver, CO 80203


Phone: (303) 866-4500
Fax: (303) 866-5691

External links

Suggest a link


Political offices
Preceded by
Ken Salazar (D)
Colorado Attorney General
Succeeded by