First female chief justice of Colorado Supreme Court dies

April 1, 2021 GMT

DENVER (AP) — The first female Supreme Court chief justice of Colorado has died after living for years with multiple sclerosis.

Mary Mullarkey, who was 77, died Wednesday. She spent 23 years on the state’s highest court and 12 years as the court’s chief.

“Justice Mullarkey was an extraordinary individual with an unparalleled mind,” Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement. “Her impact on Colorado’s courts cannot be overstated. As the first female Supreme Court chief justice, she inspired countless future jurists. ... Justice Mullarkey never allowed multiple sclerosis to slow her down, but continued to bring compassion, zeal, and wisdom to the court. She is already deeply missed.”


Mullarkey was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1987 and was elected to serve as chief justice in 1998. She was the longest-serving chief justice in state history when she retired in 2010, the Denver Post reported.

The former chief justice earned her undergraduate degree with honors from St. Norbert College and her law degree from Harvard University in 1968.

Before her appointment to the Colorado Supreme Court, Mullarkey specialized in the appellate practice and headed the appellate section in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. She later served as Colorado’s solicitor general.

Mullarkey is survived by her husband Tom Korson, their son, Dr. Andrew Korson, daughter-in-law, Emily Korson, and two granddaughters. A mass of Christian burial is scheduled at the Cure d’Ars Catholic Church in Denver.