June 27, 2019

[UPDATED] Justice Hobbs on Colorado Water Policy and History: Interview and Book Signing

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to announce that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers will also be participating in our author signing reception. Details are provided below.

Next week, CBA-CLE is hosting a reception and book signing for some of the state’s foremost legal minds and authors. A dozen prominent members of the Colorado legal community and accomplished authors will be signing copies of their books just in time for the holidays. A full list of participants and RSVP information is provided below.

Among the distinguished group is Justice Greg Hobbs, author of Living the Four Corners: Colorado, Centennial State at the Headwaters. With such diverse themes as International Water Policy, Abraham Lincoln and Equal Justice Under the Law, and Navajo Tradition and Writing, this companion volume is a fascinating read as well as a framework for water law policy and water law history in Colorado. Click here for more information.

Justice Hobbs is also one of the featured authors of Colorado Water 2012, a group that engages Coloradans in a statewide celebration of water and our unique heritage as a headwaters state with an understanding of the diverse uses and values of this precious resource. In a recent interview with the group, Justice Hobbs describes his passion for water:

What and where is the most powerful or fun or harrowing experience you’ve ever had with water?

I’ve had fantastically fun raft trips with my wife, Bobbie, family and friends rafting the Arkansas, Rio Grande, Dolores, San Juan, Green, various segments of the upper Colorado, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, and Idaho’s main Salmon.  We’ve also enjoyed five memorable houseboat trips up and down the magnificent expanse of Lake Powell.  The most harrowing experience was a houseboat trip on the reservoir in 1988 with our children, Dan and Emily and cattle dog, Pepsi.  The boat’s steering mechanism went out.  Our wallowing albatross careened back and forth between sheer canyon walls.  The heart of the caged Colorado rages in Powell.  Only Pepsi believed her Captain would cross the bar into safe harbor at Dangling Rope Marina.

What property of water most fascinates you? How did your appreciation of this property affect your book?

Its luminous poetry and musicality.  Walk along any stream, pond or reservoir.  Hear and see creatures rejoicing.  The great blue heron, children at play, voices of the ancestors bubbling just beneath the surface.  The Hopi believe people emerged climbing a reed from the lake at the center of the earth into this glittering surface world. The Bible describes God as a breath of fresh air moving across the waters.  Awe becomes our artistic imagination as we work, play and pass through the four corners states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.  We are now integrating in-stream flow and recreational water rights into our farm, city and commerce water law portfolios.  We are working to restore wrecked riparian areas as we prepare for inevitable population increases.  Preserve, Conserve, Sustain and Inspire, these are four great water principles to live by.

What attitude did you have about water and people that changed in the course of researching and writing your book?

I appreciate the complexity of water politics more than ever.  People are endlessly fascinating.  We attempt to corral and solve “the water problem.” But it’s the same problem Native Americans and all other immigrants into this great land have always had to address as climate changes.  Civilization is always at risk. Smart water governance in community, amidst flood and drought, is the heritage and future of our human utilitarian spirituality.             

In writing your book, what was the greatest difficulty you encountered in conveying the feeling of what you’ve learned about water and people?

How to translate water law as a response to the ever-evolving customs and values of the peoples of the Americas in response to a wildly varying climate.  Take the opportunity to examine ancestral Pueblo water works on the ground at Mesa Verde and Hovenweep.  Native Americans, not Hispano or Anglo farmers and cities, were the first practitioners of water conservation as they built ditches and reservoirs.  Visit Navajo teachers in their classrooms and along their San Juan, Little Colorado and Colorado River homelands.  Navajos are still hauling water to their homes while the rest of us enjoy water faucets we turn and take for granted.   Native American reserved and ancestrally- exercised water rights date back to 1868 and earlier. Yet, federal financial support for the necessary water infrastructure has mostly benefitted the states in helping to develop their interstate water apportionments.  Now Congress is turning to the question of funding Indian water rights settlements throughout the land.  Will we help water justice prevail?

What is your favorite image/passage in your book (please quote a line or two)?

From “Fishing with Will” in Living the Four Corners: “But fishing with my brother in the Forgotten 16, that’s a part of our respective Four Corners journeys I’ll not be forgetting.  Upon the rocks at sunset on the Horseshoe Bend, Will says to me, ‘I got to the camping because you were doing it and it turned out just right for me.’”

What is your hope for Colorado and the World’s water future?

That we share with the environment and each other our precious capability for problem solving and getting along.

What is your favorite water book by another author?

Digging The Old West: How Dams and Ditches Sculpted An American Landscape by Karmen Lee Franklin.  A feast for the eyes and artistic imagination, chock full of photography, art and prose centering on how water ditches in Colorado have created a contemporary cultural landscape founded on Native American, Hispanic, Moorish, and Anglo immigrant roots.

Continue the discussion with us next Tuesday at the author reception and signing. Don’t miss this great opportunity to not only meet these legal legends, but engage them in discussion on their favorite topics!

Second Annual Hot Wine/Cool Books Signing Reception

December 13, 2011 – 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Colorado Bar Association CLE 1900 Grant St, Ste 300, Denver, CO 80203

Hot Wine and Cider as well as hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Part of the Proceeds from the Event will be Donated to Metro Volunteer Lawyers.

RSVP to Melissa Lucas at mlucas@cobar.org or (303) 824-5387.

Come meet the authors and get a personal, signed copy of their book.
Find out what inspires them and how they find time for their passion for writing!
Just some of the books available and authors attending include:

No Higher Calling, No Greater Responsibility: A Prosecutor Makes His Case
by John W. Suthers, Colorado Attorney General

Rebuilding Justice: Civil Courts in Jeopardy and Why You Should Care
by Rebecca Love Kourlis, former Colorado Supreme Court Justice

Lawyer Trap
by R.J. Jagger, Attorney and Fiction Author

Living the Four Corners
by Greg Hobbs, Colorado Supreme Court Justice

Once Upon a Time
by Harry MacLean, Attorney and True Crime Author

My Sisters Made of Light
by Jacqueline St. Joan, Attorney and Professor

Steam Steel and Statutes
by Frank Gibbard, Esq., Attorney with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals

Early Justice and the Formation of the Colorado Bar
by Dave Erickson, Attorney

The Vatican Conspiracies
James McCarthy, Attorney

King of the Chicanos–and many other books!
Manuel Ramos, Attorney

Stillbird and Three Novellas
Sandra Swader Sanchez, Attorney

Enemy in Blue
Derick Blass, Attorney

The Trials of Kate Hope
Wick Downing, Attorney

Losing Twice: Harms of Indifference in the Supreme Court
Emily M. Calhoun, Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School

CBA-CLE Author to Do Reading, Signing on June 10

A religious leader’s oratory is overly strident, and the greater community resents his inflammatory message. His place of worship is bombed as a warning.

A well-respected Colorado governor sees his divorce played out in the courts, with many ugly and embarrassing revelations. The public’s hunger for the lurid details appears insatiable, and the press is happy to oblige.

Despite several warnings, a distracted driver is injured in an accident with city-owned street equipment in Denver and sues the city. She wins at trial, and the appellate court upholds the jury’s verdict.

Ripped from the headlines? Well, yes — but not today’s headlines. The church steeple exploded in Breckenridge in 1891. Governor Gilpin’s divorce woes were all the rage in 1897. And the distracted horse-and-buggy driver was engaged in conversation with her passenger when the city’s steamroller frightened her horses and overturned the buggy in 1892.

The parallels with today’s news are obvious in these and the many other accounts of Colorado appellate cases that you will find in Steam, Steel & Statutes: True Tales from Colorado Legal History, published by Colorado Bar Association CLE. This delightful book is a collection of “Historical Perspectives” columns that appeared in The Colorado Lawyer from 2002 through 2010.

Steam, Steel & Statutes is currently a finalist for the 2011 Colorado Book Awards (History/Biography category). The winners will be announced in late June, but you can hear author Frank Gibbard read from the book on Friday, June 10, during the “Finalist Readings” sponsored by the Book Awards, beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Baur’s Ristorante, 1512 Curtis Street in downtown Denver. Everyone is welcome, and Frank will be happy to autograph books at the event.

Steam, Steel & Statutes is available for purchase in the CBA-CLE bookstore.