The Colorado Women’s Bar Association has requested a meeting with the state’s Supreme Court justices to discuss sexual harassment within the judiciary.
“Recent revelations regarding complaints of sexual harassment within the judicial system, and their nontransparent handling, have been profoundly demoralizing to our members,” wrote Miranda K. Hawkins, the president of the association, which represents approximately 1,5000 attorneys and other legal professionals. Earlier this month, reports emerged of a multimillion dollar contract awarded to a former Judicial Department employee in exchange for her silence on a slew of misconduct allegations, including harassment and sexism.
“In keeping with our mission, we request an immediate meeting to discuss the following preliminary recommendations for systemic reform,” Hawkins added. “We value the independence of the judiciary along with safety for women, and offer our expertise to help build solutions that respect your independence but create sorely needed accountability”.
Among the possible reforms to the judiciary, the CWBA proposed allowing judicial staff to anonymously review judges, soliciting any experiences of discrimination, harassment or bias. The bar association also suggested including statistics about those types of complaints in judges’ retention evaluations. Currently, the judicial retention process accounts for such factors as demeanor or knowledge of the law in a judge's public work, but may not describe the totality of complaints against judges for voters.
Finally, CWBA asked for the hiring of an independent investigator within the judiciary specifically for discrimination and harassment complaints.