The Denver Gazette: There are a lot of conflicting explanations for why judges wear black robes: A custom started to mourn the death of Queen Mary in 1694. A compromise between Thomas Jefferson, who wanted to reject British traditions of black robes and white wigs, and John Adams who wanted to keep both. A practice started by Chief Justice John Marshall because a black robe reinforces the idea that justice is blind.
All those theories are incorrect.
Colorado judges wear black robes to symbolize the absolute lack of transparency in their operations.
Colorado’s judicial branch is the “black ops” of government.
While our legislative and executive branches must adhere to some minimal amount of transparency under the Colorado Open Records Act and open meetings laws, those in black robes have largely exempted themselves.
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