Gregory Hobbs, a former Colorado Supreme Court justice who loved poetry and bolo ties, has died at 76


Former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, known for his western-born poetry, strong connections and molecular-level expertise in water law, has died at the age of 76.

Hobbs was chosen to the high court by Democratic Governor Roy Romer in 1996 and spent nearly two decades on the bench before retiring in 2015. He was a strong advocate for the environment, natural resources and Colorado himself – the state where he found so much poetry. Colorado’s environment and natural resources.

“Judges must be present in the community and (in its) cultural, artistic, educational and charitable fabric. People don’t understand what judges do, ”Hobbs said of a Supreme Court justice in an interview with Colorado Matters in 2005.“ It’s a magnificent privilege.

Gregory Hobbs, former Colorado Supreme Court justice known for his poetry rooted in the West, his great bolo connections and his expertise in molecules in water law.

Hobbs began working for the state around 1975, as a lawyer in the environment, transportation and natural resources section of the attorney general’s office. He practiced water and land use law until he joined the Court.

In the mid-1980s, as a member of the Metropolitan Air Quality Council, he participated in an attempt to convert the region’s coal-fired power plants to natural gas. While that transition only happened decades later, Hobbs called Denver’s air quality – before its recent setback – one of the state’s great success stories.

“We’ve gone from a time when people burned garbage in their backyards in the mid-1960s to 150 days of carbon monoxide violation (in 1975), to compliance by the year 2000 to all federal standards for the quality of our ambient air, ”he noted in 2005.

Hobbs was also a published poet. His verses were so remarkable that Governor Romer, after appointing him, specifically asked Hobbs to keep his opinion strictly in prose – and get a “respectable tie.” Hobbs was known to wear ties with a large gemstone clasp. Hobbs agreed on both points. The tie did not go well under the judicial robes, and the poetry would have stood in the way of the “clear and direct” legal writing he appreciated.

But away from the bench, poetry (and bolo ties) remained a part of his life throughout his time in the courtroom and in the community.

“In poetry, in history, and in judgment, I always seek and observe (this place) and have the great privilege of observing particular, bizarre and interesting issues that the citizens of Colorado engage in,” Hobbs said. “We can’t write a legal case just by concepts. We have to root it in the facts of the case. Poetry is rooted in detail from a particular perspective.

In a statement, Attorney General Phil Weiser said, “Judge Hobbs was an invaluable advocate and expert in the water community, and his contributions to Colorado will long be remembered as one of his most important. great jurists.

“Coloradans” – Gregory Hobbs (as recited on CPR’s Colorado Matters)

To each of us
Earth, air, water,
Mountain, canyon, mesa, plain,
Lightning, clear days without rain,
At the source of all thirst,
At the source of all thirst-quenching hope,
At the root and at the heart of time and non-time,
The Great Divide community
Straddles the backbone of the continent,
Gather, drain, reflect, send
A flow so powerful that it seeps rhythmically
Living to each of us,
Drink, swim, grow corn on the cob
To listen to our children, float the streams
Of their own magnificence,
Out of their oozing dreams,
Of their useful stupidity,
From their source mouth,
High and pure,
The great division
You and me, all that lives
And floats and flies and goes through
All we know of why.


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