A judge in Colorado’s largest judicial district will resign after using a racial slur, employing derogatory language to speak about another judge, espousing opinions about racial justice from the bench and directing court employees to work on her personal business.
The Colorado Supreme Court on Friday censured 18th Judicial District Court Judge Natalie Chase and said in an order she failed “to maintain the high standards of judicial conduct required of a judge.” Chase agreed to resign next month and did not dispute the facts of the six incidents outlined in the court’s order
Chase admitted to using the n-word a number of times in early 2020, according to the order, while driving to Pueblo with two court employees — one of whom is Black.
“(She) asked the (court employee) questions about why Black people can use the N-word but not white people, and whether it was different if the N-word is said with an ‘er’ or an ‘a’ at the end of the word,” the order said. “During the conversation, Judge Chase used the full N-word a number of times.”
That wasn’t the only time Chase made offensive comments in front of court employees.
Several days after George Floyd was killed, two Black court employees were talking about the protests that followed.
“One of them asked the other if they had seen the George Floyd protests,” the order says. “Judge Chase then, while wearing her robe and sitting on the bench, told the employees some of her opinions regarding racial justice issues. Judge Chase asked one employee some questions about the Black Lives Matter movement.”
When one of the employees attempted to explain Black Lives Matter, the order says, “Chase stated that she believes all lives matter,” but went onto say that, “the conduct of the police officers in the George Floyd matter should be investigated.”
Months earlier, Chase also told two Black employees — while she was in her robe and sitting on the bench — she was boycotting the Super Bowl because she objected to NFL players protesting police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem.
The order says while Chase maintained she “did not intend any racial animus,” she acknowledged that her “use of the N-word does not promote public confidence in the judiciary and creates the appearance of impropriety.”
It says Chase acknowledged she “undermined confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary by expressing (her) views about criminal justice, police brutality, race and racial bias, specifically while wearing (her) robe in court staff work areas and from the bench.”