The Denver Post
Judges tend to give lousy interviews, preferring that their rulings speak for them.
"This job requires the ability to withdraw yourself," says Mary Mullarkey, withdrawn in her chambers Friday.
The chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court is a public official without a public persona. She's admired for her intellect and professionalism, yet remains enigmatic even to those close to her.
"I've never met somebody who's so smart and so committed to public service, yet at the same time so humble," says Andrea Wang, one of the loyal community of lawyers who have clerked for the judge they call "Chief."
You may have read that Mullarkey, 66, is retiring later this year after 23 years on the bench — a dozen as the state's first female chief justice.
What you may not know is that, heading to Harvard Law School on scholarship in 1965, she was living out the dream of her mom, who had been admitted to study law years earlier but whose own mother forbade her to enroll. The admissions director accepted Mullarkey partly because of the summer jobs she'd had as a cocktail waitress. Anyone able to handle a bunch of drunks, he told her, could handle Harvard Law.
She went to work for the Interior Department, then moved to Denver with her husband, Tom Korson, an attorney turned minister turned political satirist. "I've done a lot of interesting things in my life," he says. "One of them is being married to Mary Mullarkey."
graduated from med school this year and has an 8-month-old daughter. The Chief keeps photos at her desk, yet refrains — noticeably — from rhapsodizing about her grandbaby. She's proud of not letting her personal life or health problems (she has MS and uses a walker) "get in the way."
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
The Denver Post