DENVER, Colo., June 18, 2015—The comment period on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s three candidates for an upcoming vacancy on the Colorado Supreme Court ended yesterday with the state’s largest and leading small-business association taking the rare step, today, of making its opposition to one of them public.
“Professor Melissa Hart raises concerns for our membership,” wrote Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director for the National Federation of Independent, in a letter to the governor. “… the purpose of NFIB has been to protect the rights to own, operate and grow their businesses. In examination of Professor Hart’s background and posted writings, we believe the rights of small-business owners would be jeopardized. Her writing demonstrates a desire to expand liability to achieve specific social outcomes. These opinions may be appropriate for the classroom or even the Legislature, but it is inconceivable that someone with such an obvious and longstanding anti-business bias could lay aside that bias upon joining the Supreme Court.
“The role of all justices is to respect the rule of law and not base rulings on personal biases. Based on Professor Hart’s experience, she is severely lacking in judicial experience, which would lead to inconsistencies on the bench. NFIB/CO cannot support the nomination and considers Professor Hart an entirely unsuitable candidate. Her appointment would send a chilling message to the business community.”
Gagliardi said Colorado small business became especially vigilant on legal and judicial matters following the passage of House Bill 1136 two years ago, which greatly expanded punitive damages against any size firm. Known as the ‘sue your boss bill,’ the law made it much easier to file frivolous lawsuits. “We have an old saying at NFIB that goes ‘Just because you don’t want to get involved with government that doesn’t mean government has no interest in getting involved in your business.’ House Bill 1136 and nominees like Professor Melissa Hart are two perfect reminders of that saying.”
In the same letter,
NFIB did endorse the nominations of Judge David Prince and Judge Richard Gabriel. NFIB has 7,000 small-business owning members in Colorado.
For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.
National Federation of Independent Business/Colorado
1580 Logan St. Suite 520
Denver, CO 80203