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Rice, Nancy 2010 Evaluation


Colorado Supreme Court

Honorable Nancy E. Rice

Retention Year: 2010
Recommendation: Retain

The State Commission on Judicial Performance recommends by a vote of 10 to 0 that Justice Nancy E. Rice BE RETAINED.

Justice Rice was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court in 1998. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University and her law degree from the University of Utah College of Law. Justice Rice is the Court liaison to the Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee and the Supreme Court Appellate Rules Committee. She is active in her church and on the board of a private school. She gives presentations for bar associations and civic programs. Justice Rice teaches at both of the Colorado law schools and acts as a judge in high school mock trial competitions. She has written articles published in law journals, and is dedicated to educating the public about the state justice system.

Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Rice served as a Denver District Court Judge from 1987 to 1998; an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1977 to 1987; Deputy Chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office from 1985 to 1987; and a Deputy State Public Defender in the Appellate Division from 1976 to 1977.

Attorneys who responded to survey questions indicate that, compared to the other justices, the performance of Justice Rice is somewhat stronger in the area of refraining from reaching issues that need not be decided and somewhat weaker in the area of being courteous toward attorneys. In all other areas the attorneys indicated that her performance is generally comparable to that of the other justices. Comments by a few of the attorneys surveyed expressed concern about a prosecution bias in some criminal cases and a brusque demeanor during oral arguments. Others commented that she is conscientious, hard working, and prepared for oral arguments, and has a balanced approach to the issues in the case. The judges who responded to survey questions indicated that Justice Rice’s performance was somewhat stronger in every category surveyed. The comments of several of the judges surveyed were that Justice Rice is smart, and she writes clear and reasoned opinions. The Commission reviewed a number of Justice Rice’s opinions. They reflect an independent thinker whose decisions are generally clear and well written and reflect respect toward any differing opinions of her colleagues.

Of all attorneys surveyed about retention, 77% recommended to retain, 16% not to retain, and 6% expressed no opinion. Excluding those who had no opinion, 82% recommended to retain and 18% not to retain. Of all judges surveyed, 91% recommended to retain, 6% not to retain, and 4% expressed no opinion. Excluding those who had no opinion, 94% recommended to retain and 6% not to retain. (These percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)