If you ask former Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice, she and retiring Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alan Loeb have made the state’s appellate courts cool. That may be a big reason the Colorado Judicial Institute chose to honor the two of them with judicial leadership awards at its annual dinner on Thursday.
Rice and Loeb took on their roles as chiefs of their respective courts around the same time in 2013. “I think [Alan Loeb] and I kind of made the appellate courts cool, if I have to say so myself,” Rice said. “Would everybody agree with that?”
Along with her and Loeb, CJI recognized Magistrate Lisa Gomez, Jefferson County Judge Thomas Vance and 2nd District Judge Morris Hoffman took home the evening’s judicial excellence honors. Presented by former Chief Justice Michael Bender, each award featured a video of the judge’s colleagues and acquaintances talking about their personalities as jurists and why they’ve stood out in their roles.
In Rice’s tribute video, retired Court of Appeals Judge Sandra Rothenberg recalled what Rice told her when Rothenberg asked how she was acclimating to her role on the Denver District Court. “She said, ‘I keep looking behind me, waiting for the judge to rule, and then I realize, oh my God, I’m the judge,’” Rothenberg said. “So I knew she was doing just fine. That happens to all of us.”