Finalists Named for Rice’s Supreme Court Vacancy

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission announced today its three finalists for a vacancy on the Colorado Supreme Court. The retirement of Chief Justice Nancy Rice, effective July 1, will create an open spot on the bench that will be filled by one of the candidates to be appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper. The nominees, whom the commission selected during a Denver meeting held Monday and Tuesday, are Maria Berkenkotter of Boulder, Karen Brody of Denver and Carlos Samour of Lone Tree.

Berkenkotter had served as chief judge of Colorado’s 20th Judicial District for four years until she retired from the position in October. She went on to join Judicial Arbiter Group, Inc. in January as an arbiter. Prior to her time on the bench, Berkenkotter led the Antitrust, Consumer Protection and Tobacco Litigation Units of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

Brody is a judge in Colorado’s 2nd Judicial District in Denver where she was first appointed in 2014. She previously practiced commercial litigation with a focus on real estate and eminent domain with Lowe Fell & Skogg and Otten Johnson Robinson Neff + Ragonetti.

Samour is chief judge of Colorado’s 18th Judicial District where he presided over the Aurora theater shooting trial. Before his appointment as chief judge in 2014 and as district judge in 2007, Samour served in the Denver District Attorney’s Office and practiced with Holland & Hart in Denver.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has 15 days from today within which to appoint one of the nominees as a justice on the Colorado Supreme Court. Comments regarding any of the nominees may be sent via e-mail to the governor at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us