History Will Not Be Kind To Sen. Chris Holbert

Sen. Chris Holbert (R) on a DIY “border patrol” in Arizona.

In today’s in-depth post-mortem from John Frank and Jesse Paul of the Denver Post, a remark from Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert that’s provoking a lot of discussion today on both sides of the aisle–and not the good kind:

Democratic legislative leaders called Republicans “obstructionists” and pointed to a Colorado Supreme Court decision that affirms lawmakers’ ability to pass legislation to correct the mistake without going to voters for approval under TABOR. But Republicans didn’t buy it.

Senate Republican leader Chris Holbert, of Parker, dismissed the court’s ruling in an eye-opening statement. “I did not swear an oath to uphold the opinion of a court,” he said, adding that his constituents’ interpretation of the constitution is more important. [Pols emphasis]

Let’s take a moment to unpack this jaw-dropping statement. When Sen. Holbert says he “did not swear to uphold the opinion of a court,” that’s in reference to the Colorado Supreme Court. The problem with this is that under the Colorado Constitution, like the federal constitution it is frequently muddled with in these arguments, the courts interpret the law. That means Holbert did swear an oath to uphold the decision of the Colorado Supreme Court where they have interpreted the meaning of the Colorado Constitution.

Which means that Holbert is clueless about the oath he took as a lawmaker. That’s bad.

But as bad as that is, Holbert’s next statement that ‘his constituents’ interpretation of the constitution is more important’ could be even more outrageous. Is the reason not immediately evident to you? Perhaps this will jog your memory:

These are also “constituents” who had a different “interpretation of the constitution.”

You might remember from the history books how that difference in “interpretation” was resolved:

Here’s somebody else who chose to respect the “opinion of a court” even though he really, really didn’t want to.

That’s Al Gore conceding the state of Florida in 2000, while George W. Bush’s supporters were staging the “Brooks Brothers Riot.” Because that is what the law–and more than that, the whole system–required of him at that moment.

Folks, we could go on and on. It is simply outlandish for a sitting lawmaker to declare that their oath to defend the state constitution carries no obligation to respect a Colorado Supreme Court interpretation of that same constitution. As for “constituents’ interpretation” of the constitution being more important than the highest court in the land?

That puts Sen. Chris Holbert on the wrong, and very ugly, side of history.

30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Davie says:

    Well, Holbert didn't swear an oath to uphold the Law of Gravity, and will only accept the opinion of his constituents in that regard as well!  He's still checking with Dudley Brown on that.

  2. Moderatus says:

    Upholding TABOR makes Chris Holbert a segregationist?!

    This is one of the worst smears I have ever seen from Colorado Pols and that's saying a lot. This post should be taken down and Colorado Pols should apologize to Chris Holbert NOW. Shame on you!!!

    • bullshit! says:

      Moderanus. Why does Sen. Holbert either have no clue how government works or not care? Chill your feigned outraged long enough to answer the question. I get that you have the equivalent of a Commodore 64 for a brain, so take all the time you need.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Oh, look. Our voice of reason little snowflake is back.   

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Dear Moderatus. TABOR was not an issue in the special session. Even several Republicans said as much. Maybe you need to do a bit more homework.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      We’re all sorry Holbert is just about as much of a fucking douchetool shithead as you are, Fluffynutz.

      PS. When’d you start not loving segregationists anyway???

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      It's an analogy, you moron. Do you know what an analogy is?

    • JohnInDenver says:

      I'm always surprised to learn a Republican does not grasp the idea of our Constitutional Republic. And I'm surprised to learn a "conservative" doesn't understand the essence of what is being "conserved," but abandons law and order for a rule by his understanding of "the majority."

      But your assumption about this essay makes a false logical leap. In no way does the comparison of one set of radical democrats (Holbert, et al., saying constituents' opinions are more important than the Courts) to another set of radical democrats (Wallace, et al., saying Segregation now, Segregation forever) mean that Holbert is a Segregationist.

      There are a whole variety of people who think "the people" should be able to rule rather than a Constitution, as interpreted by the Courts. The "free citizens," "Posse Comitatus," III%ers, anti-income taxers, a wide variety of religious groups, and other radical utopian groups all hold their understanding to be superior to the Courts' published interpretations.



  3. Moderatus says:

    How can anyone take Colorado Pols seriously after this.

  4. Duke Cox says:

    Those three boys in the photo above are all probably about my age …I wonder if they are all Trumpians now? I went to school with assholes like that. They called me names because I had African American classmates who were friends.

    I betcha they all hate Muslims nowadays.

  5. ElliotFladen says:

    It is one thing to refuse to comply with a lawfully issued court order.  It is another to say that a legislator or a citizen cannot have an opinion about a constitutional provision that differs from a court’s.  The former dean of Stanford Law School wrote a book about this issue.


  6. CDHolbert says:

    First of all, I doubt anyone on this page has ever spoken to Senator Holbert or knows anything about him. As his son, I do know him. He is not a racist and the assumption that he is is unfounded and cannot be proven and therefore is pure slander worthy of lawful action against the author. The legal definition of slander is, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed. Slander is a civil wrong (tort) and can be the basis for a lawsuit. Also, the picture posted above saying that he was on a DIY Border patrol is exaggerated. He was not in Arizona or Texas to patrol the border he was down there to simply assess the condition of the border which is what any responsible lawmaker should do. He was armed because believe it or not the U.S.-Mexican border is very dangerous. Second, the supposed quote they used was clearly marked as a "[Pols emphasis]" and therefore everything written regarding said "quote" should be dismissed a pure fiction. Though it is true that Chris Holbert has been a devout servant of his constituents and his State. Perhaps if you truly want to know who Senator Holbert is and what he believes in you should email his state email because he is always willing to hear the concerns of his constituents. 

    • Voyageur says:

      Actually, Noodlesoup, you are wrong about slander.  Slander is spoken defamation.  Written defamation is libel.

      And it's not just a quibble.  When you purport to lecture us on the law of defamation and don't even get the basic definition right, we are entitled to think you're just one more Trump\Dump dullard blowing opinions out of your ass.

      If you really are Holbert's son, you have my genuine sympathy.  It's very hard to watch someone you love be ridiculed.   But the next time you mount your legal hobby horse, buy a copy of Black's Law Dictionary first!


      • CDHolbert says:

        Dude WTF haha Slander or not it is still defamation and still worthy of a lawsuit. Good job doing the classic oh he messed up one part of his argument so, therefore, the entire thing is forfeit. I also never said that I supported Trump, Moron. Do you have an actual opinion on what I said.  

        • FrankUnderwood says:

          I'm afraid you'd be wasting your time and money suing ColoradoPols. And we all know that Republicans do not like to waste money. (sarcasm intended)

          You don't have standing on a defamation claim. Your dad might have standing, but he's face the New York Times v. Sullivan standard and lose on that basis. 

          By the way, I went back and re-read what was posted on the thread. It said two things: (1) that your dad did not understand the oath he took, and (2) he was using a premise that others have used in the past in rejecting the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause. 


    • FrankUnderwood says:

      To borrow a famous phrase:

      When your dad got into politics, he knew what he was getting into.

      • CDHolbert says:

        Yes, He and I both knew that people were going to make up nonsense BULL SHIT. Even if you are prepared for someone to lie you should still make an effort, to tell the truth.

        • FrankUnderwood says:

          Young Holbert……

          You mean like the shit that was hurled at Barack Obama for eight years about being a Muslim socialist born in Kenya. Or the crap that was throw at Hillary Clinton for the last quarter century about being a witch and being complicit in the death of Vince Foster. (By the way, the only known witch in politics in recent years was the Republican Senatorial candidate Delaware, Christine O'Donnell.)


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