Case Details


Attorney General May Sue Secretary Of State And May Challenge Constitutionality Of State Redistricting Statute

Filing State



Colorado Supreme Court




State ex rel. Salazar v. Davidson, 79 P.3d 1221 (Colo. 2003).


The Attorney General may bring an original proceeding pursuant to C.A.R. 21 to challenge the constitutionality of Senate Bill 03-352, a congressional redistricting law enacted by the General Assembly to replace the court-ordered congressional districts applied in the 2002 general election.

Case Description

The Colorado legislature failed to file legislation on redistricting after the 2002 Census and before the general election. A state trial court developed a plan which was used for the election. The newly elected legislature enacted a new redistricting plan, which the Governor signed. The Attorney General filed an original action in the state Supreme Court seeking to enjoin the Secretary of State from implementing the General Assembly’s 2003 redistricting plan and requesting a writ of mandamus requiring the Secretary of State to return to the 2002 redistricting plan. The Secretary of State filed her own case seeking dismissal of the Attorney General’s case, arguing that the Attorney General cannot bring an original action and cannot name the Secretary of State as a respondent because he is ethically obligated to represent her. After concluding that the Attorney General could bring an original action in the state supreme court on this issue, the court held, “In his role as legal advisor to the Secretary of State, the Attorney General must advise the Secretary of State on the implementation of the election laws. Consistent with his ethical duties and his oath of office, if the Attorney General has grave doubts about the constitutionality of the impending 2004 general election, he must seek to resolve these doubts as soon as possible. A prompt resolution of the case will aid both the Secretary of State and the Attorney General in fulfilling their oaths to uphold the Colorado Constitution.”