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Silverman: Let’s look at the Colorado lawyers at the center of the impeachment trial and Washington power

Barristers, start your engines. Time now for the lawyers to perform at this so-called trial in the U.S. Senate. 

Legal reputations will be made or lost in coming weeks. The whole world will be watching. Colorado Congressman Jason Crow was a fascinating and unexpected choice to be a House manager.  

Several Colorado attorneys are center stage during this impeachment. As President Trump begins his fourth year in office, here’s a list of local lawyers made more famous during his presidency. They are set forth here in order of their obtaining Colorado Supreme Court attorney registration numbers.

Craig Silverman

Diana DeGette, #12234.  A Colorado College (1979) and NYU Law graduate (1982), she was masterful serving as Speaker pro tem on Trump’s impeachment day. DeGette has served as Denver’s congresswoman since 1997 and will soon surpass the lengthy tenure of her predecessor, Pat Schroeder. Earlier in 2019, facing a formidable primary challenge from former Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran, DeGette fought back hard and won easily. Duran said no mas 13 months before Election Day.

Ken Buck, #23717. It was unexpected when Buck, a 1985 Wyoming Law grad, had Robert Mueller testify Trump could be convicted of  obstruction of justice. Months later, at the House Judiciary impeachment hearing, Buck described Democrat presidential abuses of power to Professor Jonathan Turley. This disproportionality and double-standard argument is a good one that Trump’s legal team may adopt in coming days. It’s better than inane claims Trump did nothing wrong. Of course, POTUS probably disagrees. Castigated for missing many impeachment depositions, this congressman from northern Colorado is busy, also serving as state GOP chairman. Buck’s loyalty to Donald Trump certainly reflects the majority view of his congressional constituents and Colorado Republicans.

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Neil Gorsuch, #24235. A 1991 Harvard Law grad, Justice Gorsuch hails from a long line of prominent Denver attorneys. His mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, was a Denver Deputy DA and Colorado legislator who rose to prominence as a Cabinet secretary under President Reagan. It was that appointment that caused adolescent Neil to move with his mom to Washington and leave his schooling at Christ the King Catholic School in his native Denver. This conservative Coloradan’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court made many pro-life and NRA supporters fall firmly in love with President Trump. 

David Bernhardt, #24475. America’s 53rd Secretary of the Interior is a Rifle Colorado native and a 1994 graduate of the George Washington University National Law Center. He worked as a Denver law partner at Brownstein Hyatt, Farber, Schreck, which is now the No. 1 lobbying firm in America. Under Trump and Bernhardt, many environmental regulations have been modified or removed at Interior. 

Ty Cobb, #29781. A former federal prosecutor, this Colorado licensed lawyer went to Harvard and then Georgetown Law.  He’s a distant cousin of the legendary Detroit Tigers baseball great with the same name. As Trump’s attorney, he pulled off the improbable: successfully representing POTUS in the Mueller probe, apparently getting paid and leaving without public humiliation and/or jailing.  

Michael Bennet, #29902. Sen. Bennet, a 1993 Yale Law grad, was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal, and is running for president. You’d never know that by watching Democratic presidential debates where he’s been excluded. This former Denver Public Schools Superintendent can’t be excluded from his role as a juror in the trial of the century. 

Cory Gardner, #33341. Sen. Gardner, a 2001 C.U. Law grad, is also a juror, and has been the subject of many entreaties by me and others. Gardner has a chance to be an American hero.

Joe Neguse, #41244. Rep. Neguse was a standout member of the House Judiciary Committee during impeachment hearings. A CU Law graduate in 2009, Neguse would have been an outstanding House Manager, but this photogenic Colorado congressman should be a major Democratic TV talking head during the impeachment trial. Cole Wist, a former Republican state legislator who worked with Neguse at Holland and Hart, describes Neguse as brilliant and “the most likeable person you’ll ever meet.”

Jason Crow, #41389. A decorated Army Ranger and first-term congressman, Rep. Crow admits he was surprised and humbled to be selected to prosecute the House case against Trump. Crow is a 2009 DU Law graduate, and worked with Neguse and Wist at Holland and Hart where he was a partner.  Wist regards Crow as a smart and intense individual who always prioritizes service to his country. Crow’s selection was remarkable given he opposed Nancy Pelosi being Speaker. Perhaps he was selected to the Democrats’ dream team for his military background, litigation experience and/or filling the role of a young, white Christian male. 

Jenna Ellis Rives, #44026. This former Colorado Christian University adjunct professor and 2011 Richmond Law grad, has garnered the affection of President Trump. Author of The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution, Ellis asserts progressive judicial philosophy has created “a culture that lacks objective morality and embraces secular ideas.” Ellis was a guest many times on my old radio show. Nowadays, she’s Senior Legal Adviser to Trump’s 2020 campaign and his smiling supporter on national television. 

Our Constitution and system of government are being tested. When America began and our founding documents were written, Colorado and its citizens were not involved. Now we are. Expect lawyers from Colorado to keep playing major roles in this extraordinary era in our nation’s history.   

Craig Silverman is a former Denver chief deputy DA who also has worked in the media for decades. Craig is columnist at large for The Colorado Sun. He practices law at the Denver law firm of Springer & Steinberg, P.C.


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