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Public Education about the Colorado Judiciary

We at CJI support the merit selection system and judicial performance evaluation program in Colorado as an effective, efficient, and fair system for choosing and evaluating judges.  The system works most effectively when citizens are knowledgeable about the system and aware of where to acquire judicial performance evaluation information.  Sadly, public surveys conducted by organizations such as the League of Women Voters and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, we know that a large portion of Colorado voters do not have a complete understanding of the judicial merit selection system or the judicial performance evaluation program. 

To address the lack of public knowledge of our judicial selection and evaluation programs, CJI established the Public Education and Public Information Committees.

Congratulations Our Courts Colorado!

The CBA/CJI joint program Our Courts Colorado received the 2020 Sandra Day O’Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education from the National Center for State Courts.

Founded in 2007 to provide nonpartisan information about Colorado’s unique judicial system, Our Courts presents topics ranging from an explanation of judicial selection to how bankruptcy cases work to an introduction to immigration courts. The program has reached more than 20,000 Coloradans.

From the outset, Our Courts organizers recognized that the program’s success meant reaching African-American and Hispanic communities. Hispanic program materials are translated into Spanish and presented by Spanish-speaking judges and lawyers. There is also a high school outreach program.

The NCSC selected Our Courts for its broad reach, continued program expansion, and its ability to be replicated in other jurisdictions around the country. To schedule an Our Courts Colorado presentation, visit For more on this award, click to…/news-r…/2020/sandra-day-oconnor-award.

Special thanks to Our Courts,, for creating and producing the following PSAs on the need for Colorado citizens to vote in the November 2020 judicial retention elections.


Our Courts Launches Program for Colorado's Upcoming Voters

Our Courts Colorado has a new high school program teaching the next generation about Colorado's merit selection system for appointing judicial officers.

Our Courts started a little over a decade ago out of an unsuccessful ballot initiative to impose term limits for appellate judges.  CJI and other organizations opposing the initiative they realized most voters didn’t really know how Colorado’s judicial system works.  Our Courts has been educating adults around Colorado ever since.  This is their first program for high schoolers.

Find the complete article here.

Public Education through OUR COURTS Presentations

In 2007 CJI partnered with the Colorado Bar Association to create the Our Courts public education program. Our Courts provides nonpartisan information programs to audiences around the state to further public knowledge and understanding of the state and federal courts in Colorado. Our Courts presentations and presenters take no position regarding any specific court case, legislation, ballot issue, or proposed change to the court system. 

1. Our State Courts -- Topics covered include merit selection, judicial performance evaluation, judicial retention, and the composition of various commissions.

2.  Our United States Courts -- Topics include judicial nominations, the types cases heard in federal courts, and the procedures that keep our federal courts fair and impartial.

Our Courts presentations have been delivered to groups and organizations such as community leadership programs, business and economic development associations, professional and trade associations, service organizations, community colleges, undergraduate and graduate schools, and vocational schools, libraries and other community organizations

Our Courts presentations are presented free of charge by trained judges and attorneys.  To schedule an Our Courts presentation or to learn more, email the CBA here or call (303) 860-1115.

The Our Courts partners are:
Colorado Bar Association
Colorado Judicial Institute
Colorado State Library
Colorado Community College System
Colorado District Judges Association
Colorado County Judges Association
Faculty of Federal Advocates
Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System  
League of Women Voters of Colorado
National Center for State Courts  
Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver
University of Colorado Law School
University of Colorado at Denver School of Public Affairs

The Our Courts program is always looking for additional volunteers.  Volunteers can serve as speakers (training is available), assist in developing presentation content, coordinate partner efforts, community outreach and assist in fund-raising.  Volunteers are encouraged to contact Our Courts via email or at 303-860-1115.

Interested in Our Courts, CJI's Public Education Project?

Read more in this article from Law Week by Justice Richard Gabriel.

Want to know how Colorado selects and evaluates judges?
Why Should You Vote in Colorado Judicial Retention Elections?

Are you one of those voters who skips the judges on your ballot?  Or just votes for the names you like?  You're not alone...but you can do better for Colorado!  Click here for more information on why and how to support our judicial system by voting.