Candidate Profile
Melissa Hart

Non-Partisan , Colorado


Melissa Hart
Supreme Court Justice (retention of Hart)

Panel Rating

Proven Judicial Activist Information icon

Selected Contributions


Accountability for Colorado (2010), Barack Obama (2013), Dan Pabon (2010), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (2014), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (2010), Democrats for Education Reform (2012) and 11 more







Other Information

Justice Hart was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court by Governor John Hickenlooper. She has clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi, who was nominated by President Clinton, and for Justice John Paul Stevens, who was nominated by President Ford.

According to Justice Hart's profile on Colorado Judicial Branch, "Justice Hart is a member of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Sam Cary Bar Association, and the Colorado LGBT Bar Association."

A 2017 Colorado Politics article says, "Hart is a registered Democrat who ran for the at-large University of Colorado regent seat in 2010. Her biggest contributions came from teacher and labor unions as well as county and state Democratic party coffers."

Justice Hart joined the Court majority in State v. Jones, which said that the Court could not determine whether the defendant was liable for child abuse for harm that the defendant inflicted on a child while she was in the womb. Chief Justice Coats, Justice Boatright, and Justice Samour dissented.

Justice Hart joined the Court majority in Ritchie v. Polis, which held “that article V, section 1 of the Colorado Constitution requires that ballot initiative petitions be signed in the presence of the petition circulator. Because that requirement cannot be suspended by executive order, the Governor is not authorized to create an exception to that requirement.”

Justice Hart joined the Court majority in McCulley v. People, which held that Brian McCulley was eligible to petition for his name to be removed from a sex offender registry. The Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act said that people who have “more than one conviction” for sexual misconduct cannot petition to remove their names from the registry. The Colorado Supreme Court held that McCulley’s “successfully completed deferred judgment” was not a conviction for the purposes of the Sex Offender Registration Act, which meant that McCulley only had one sexual-assault conviction. Chief Justice Coats, Justice Boatright, and Justice Hood dissented.

Justice Hart joined the Court majority in People in Interest of C.W.B., Jr., which held that C.W.B.’s foster parents did not have standing to appeal a trial court’s custody ruling. The Arizona Supreme Court wrote that, “although section 19-3-507(5)(a) permits foster parents to intervene in dependency and neglect proceedings following adjudication, foster parents here do not have a legally protected interest in the outcome of termination proceedings, and section 19-3-507(5)(a) does not automatically confer standing to them to appeal the juvenile court’s order denying the termination motion at issue.” Chief Justice Rice and Justice Coats dissented.

Justice Hart joined the Colorado Supreme Court majority in Norton v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood. Jane Norton had sued Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Governor Hickenlooper, and other Colorado officials for violating a Colorado law: “No public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion.” The Court upheld the trial court’s dismissal of the lawsuit, arguing that Norton failed to “allege that the State made a payment to a person or entity—whether directly to that person or entity, or indirectly through an intermediary—for the purpose of compensating them for performing an abortion.” Justices Boatrights and Coats dissented.

Justice Hart joined the Colorado Supreme Court majority in Rocky Mountain Gun Owners v. Polis, which held “that HB 1224 [banning gun magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds] is a reasonable exercise of the police power that has neither the purpose nor effect of nullifying the right to bear arms in self-defense encompassed by article II, section 13 of the Colorado Constitution.”

Other notable cases:

In Re: Interrogatory on House Joint Resolution 20-1006 (2020)

In Re: People v. DeGreat (2020)

McCoy v. People (2019)

Colorado Union of Taxpayers Found. v. City of Aspen (2018)

Johnson v. Sch. Dist. No. 1 (2018)


Please note: Responses are entered electronically by the candidate and are listed verbatim.

Religious Liberty

Religious liberty is at risk in the United States and deserves the highest level of protection in the law.

(Did not answer)

The Ten Commandments should not be displayed in public school buildings or court houses.

(Did not answer)

What does "separation of church and state" mean to you?

(Did not answer)


Judeo-Christian values established a framework of morality which is necessary for our system of limited government.

(Did not answer)

George Washington's comment that “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society” is still true today.

(Did not answer)

Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values.

(Did not answer)

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County, which justice’s opinion most closely aligns with your opinion of whether the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be extended to the LGBTQ community?

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What types of pro bono work have you done?

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I voted in these primaries and general elections:

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When you consider your views on a wide range of issues from economic and social matters to foreign policy and immigration, which of the following best describes you overall?

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Please provide publicly available information validating your answer to the previous question.

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What education or experience qualifies you to hold the office for which you seek election?

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In what areas of law have you practiced?

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Have you ever been convicted of a felony or been penalized for sexual misconduct? If so, please explain.

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Why should the voters choose you?

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Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

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Judicial Philosophy

The U.S. Constitution and my state constitution should be interpreted as living documents, rather than using a strict constructionist or originalist approach in judicial decisions.

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There are times when American judges should alter U.S. case law in order to comply with foreign case law.

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Which current U.S. Supreme Court justice best reflects your judicial philosophy?

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What is the proper use of legislative history in interpreting statutory law?

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What possibilities should a judge exhaust before departing from precedent?

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How should a judge determine which rights are protected by the Constitution even though they are not specifically mentioned?

(Did not answer)


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Work & Military
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