Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter named Marquez on Wednesday to fill a vacancy on the seven-member court. Marquez is currently deputy Colorado attorney general and is past president of the Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association.
Marquez didn’t talk to reporters after being named to the court. But an openly gay state senator praised the choice as a groundbreaking sign of progress.
“There are barriers that are no longer there,” said state Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver. “We’ve learned to see past certain traits of people and see them for their competency and their character.”
But a conservative critic of the court tells The Denver Post that he suspects Marquez was not chosen because of her merits. Matt Arnold, director of the group Clear the Bench Colorado, said he was disappointed with Ritter’s choice.
“I think it is unfortunate that Gov. Ritter appears to have played more to special interests than judging the nominees on their merits,” he said. “He bypassed the most qualified nominees in favor of something else. I hope that she surprises us. I really do.”
Marquez, 41, is a Grand Junction native who attended Stanford and Yale universities. Her father, retired Judge Jose D.L. Marquez, was the first Latino appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals.
Ritter referred to the milestones set by Marquez’s appointment but said that’s not why she was picked.
“It is not because Monica is a Latina or because she is gay,” Ritter said. “I chose her because of her analytical ability and her keen intellect.”
Colorado’s Republican Attorney General, John Suthers, praised Marquez.
“This lady is the consummate lawyer,” Suthers said. “In a judicial role, there is no question in my mind she’ll do an excellent job of applying the law.”
Marquez succeeds retiring Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey. Before Mullarkey leaves, the justices will decide among themselves who will succeed her as chief justice.