Justice Monica Márquez can remember her dismay that many news headlines focused on her identity as a gay Latina after she received her appointment to the Colorado Supreme Court. But in time, she realized the historical gravity of her appointment and understood she could relate to diverse communities in ways her colleagues could not as effectively. She said she is often asked to speak publicly and has met members of the Latino, LGBTQ and rural communities that way.
“As an ambassador of our legal system, the diversity that I bring as a justice is an asset because I can connect with so many different communities,” Márquez said Tuesday at the CWBA’s Storming the Bench panel discussion, in which she and other female jurists urged women to pursue judgeships. “I get to see firsthand in their faces what a difference it makes for them to meet a Supreme Court justice who reflects some part of their experience.”
She added she understands she does not fit the archetype of a Supreme Court justice, which has helped her realize the importance of diversity on the bench. It carries extra importance now, during a time when many people seem to have dwindling trust in government institutions, she said.
Including Márquez, 11 female panelists including judges, nominating commission members and Gov. John Hickenlooper’s chief legal counsel, gave some of their top advice for judicial hopefuls.