Udall and Bennet name Habas to short list for federal bench

Face the State (see sidebar) is one of my favorite blogs. Alright, it really is a mega blog but, that aside the good folks over there do some pretty decent work. What follows is something that I personally never would have thought would happen. Two ubber liberal Senators backing a person for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge that has, in the recent past just plain slammed a couple of things that the commies progressives succeeded in getting passed into law.Read on, and check out FTS!

July 2, 2009

Face the State Staff Report

U.S. Senators Mark Udall, D-Boulder, and Michael Bennet, D-Denver, have forwarded to Pres. Barack Obama their list of recommendations for two federal judicial vacancies in Colorado. Among the six names is Denver District Judge Christina Habas, known recently for her ruling that Ritter’s mill levy freeze amounted to an unconstitutional property tax increase.

Habas, a registered Democrat, has ruled in two high-profile state constitutional cases within the last two years. In the first, involving the Amendment 41 ban on gifts to elected officials over $50, a group of elected officials, government works and non-profits complained Amendment 41 limited their First Amendment rights. This led Habas to issue a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Amendment 41.

In 2008, Habas ruled that the 2007 School Finance Act, which contained a provision that froze the state’s mill levy rates when they would otherwise adjust down, amounted to an unconstitutional tax increase. By freezing the mill levy rates, the legislation ensured that property tax revenue went up as property values increased.

In both cases, Habas’ decisions were overturned by the Colorado Supreme Court, dominated by liberal jurists.

Denver attorney Richard Westfall, who tried the mill levy case before Judge Habas, said she has a strong reputation as a fair attorney.

“I thought Judge Habas did a very good job in the mill levy property tax case and I don’t think the Colorado Supreme Court in any way explained why it reversed her,” said Westfall. “She has a reputation for really rolling up her sleeves and doing her job. She believes in following the law instead of advancing a political agenda.”

Also among the Senators recommendations were District Judges Morris Ben Hoffman, Richard Brooke Jackson and Lael Montgomery, along with William Martinez of McNamara, Roseman, Martinez & Kazmierski and John Walsh of Hill and Robbins. Westfall added that Walsh has a “strong reputation” and is a “very thoughtful person.”

Calls to Udall and Bennet’s offices for additional comment were not returned.

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