Judge Gordon Gallagher – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

Judge Gordon Gallagher, who has served as a federal magistrate judge for the past decade, is Biden’s fourth nominee to the federal district court bench in Colorado.


Gordon Gallagher attended Macalester College in St. Paul, graduating in 1991. He then received a J.D. from the University of Denver Strum Law School in 1996.

After graduating, Gallagher spent two years at Underhill and Underhill P.C. and then joined the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office. In 2000, Gallagher became a solo practitioner.

In 2012, Gallagher was appointed to be a U.S. Magistrate Judge and has served as such since.

History of the Seat

Gallagher has been nominated for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. This seat will open on February 10, 2023 when Judge William Martinez takes senior status. Gallagher was previously recommended by Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper to replace Judge Christine Arguello, but fellow magistrate judge Nina Wang was chosen instead. Gallagher was then nominated to replace Martinez.

Legal Experience

Gallagher began his legal career at the firm of Underhill and Underhill P.C. before spending two years as a state prosecutor. However, the vast majority of his pre-bench career was spent as a solo practitioner, where he worked primarily in criminal defense. Among his notable cases, Gallagher represented Cheyenne Corbett, a teen mom charged with murder for the death of her baby shortly after it was born. See Teen Mom Charged with Murder Invoked Privacy Law, A.P. State & Local Wire, July 28, 2006.


Gallagher has served as a federal magistrate judge since his appointment in 2012. In this role, he presides by consent over civil matters and misdemeanors, assists district judges with discovery and settlement, and writes reports and recommendations on legal issues. Among the cases that he presided over, Gallagher handled a number of cases involving damage to federal lands. For example, he found Scott Wagner guilty of damage for building an unapproved pond partially on federal property. See Man Found Guilty for Altering and Damaging Forest Service Lands Within the Gunnison National Forest, Targeted News Service, Dec. 7, 2012. In another case, Gallagher sentenced Earl Bennett to a year of probation and $30000 in restitution for illegally building a road on federal property. See Man Sentenced for Illegally Building Road on U.S. Forest Service Land, U.S. Fed News, Aug. 27, 2018.

Writings and Statements

Gallagher has made a couple of media statements in his role as an attorney. For example, in 2003, Gallagher commented on the performance of Pamela Mackey, the defense attorney for Kobe Bryant in his rape trial. See Mike Wiggins and Michael C. Bender, Questions of Ethical Propriety Arise Over Bryant’s Defense, Cox News Service, Oct. 10, 2003.

Overall Assessment

Throughout his legal career, Gallagher has held a variety of positions, including as a prosecutor, a defense lawyer, and a judge. As such, his qualifications for a federal judgeship are undeniable. If Gallagher is given a hearing this Congress, he will likely be confirmed easily. However, given that Martinez is not taking senior status until next February and that a Republican senate might find Gallagher an acceptable nominee, it wouldn’t be surprising if Democrats prioritized other judges.


  1. I’m happy to see Gallagher nominated. He’s from the Western part of the state which I believe has zero representation out of the other six judges in the district. He also had an extensive pro bono background & provides legal services to Indian tribes.


  2. Right wing district judge and federalist society hack john sinatra based in new york just blocked again the new york gun law which majority of new yorkers agree with. Can anyone explain to me why schumer and gillibrand allowed so many federalist society hacks to be on district courts? why didn’t they use their blue slips? same for in california, its a disgrace that you have several trump appointed federalist society hacks on district courts in blue states. can anyone explain why that is?
    Biden has not been able to appoint liberal judges on red states district courts where gop senators can block their nominations, ron johnson blocked pocan a moderate nominee.
    I just don’t get why democrats are so unserious about judges, there is no justification for allowing a single nominee belonging to the federalist society to be on the district court in a blue state to continue their hack agendas and block laws their liberal constituents support.
    Why aren’t the texas senators or florida senators acquiescing to the same demands? No ACLU lawyers have been appointed by biden to the numerous vacancies on district courts in their states. Why did schumer, harris and feinstein allow these hacks to pile up on district benches?

    I bring this up because these right wing federalist society hack judges are dangerous anywhere regardless of the circuit makeup, in my view its disqualifying for a blue state senator to acqueise to such nonsense.

    Can you imagine mcconell agreeing to allow an aclu immigrants lawyer on kentucky district court bench? The idea alone is ludicrous. So why was trump allowed to appoint dozens of these hacks in blue states?
    Belonging to the federalist society on its own is a dis qualifier for any nominee to a blue state distrcitcourtship.


    • They were approved as part of packages of nominees. Progressive judges like Jill Otake of Hawaii, Nicholas Ranjan of Western Pennsylvania, John Milton Young of Eastern Pennsylvania, Mary McElroy of Rhode Island, Lewis Limon of Southern New York, Stephanie Davis of Eastern Michigan, and Mary Rowland of Northern Illinois were nominated by Trump as parts of packages. Trump was reluctant to nominate them all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Then none of those deals should have been made. While Republicans treat Democrats like nothing but trash, Democrats treat Republicans like their significant other.

        It is not worth letting a far right wacko(s) on the court just to get a very small amount of ours on. The far right Federalist Society judge in this case, Frank Sinatra, will be the next Chief Judge of his District Court. Disgusting that any Democrat would play an active role in letting that happening.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This is the one-sided dealings some of the older folks/boomers on here would love to see throughout. The Republican nominee gets confirmed unanimously, while Rachel Wainer Apter, held up for over a year, only gets one GOP vote.
    If only Phil Murphy or any future Democratic governor would ignore that nonsense, non-statutory tradition, and a Dem senate majority to see the nominees through. But these are all Dems we’re talking about, so expect that third and last vacancy on the court to stay unfilled for years to come. Sad:


      • Good luck getting Florida or Texas to do that. I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea if we lived in a perfect world, but with the GOP stacking its state courts with Fed Soc hacks, it is the height of stupidity for Dems to be tying one hand behind their backs with these outdated “norms.” It’s the same thing with gerrymandering – until Dems fight back against the GOP so that there’s not a single Republican representative in CA/NY/IL, what incentive do Republicans have to come to an agreement that nobody gerrymanders/stacks their state supreme courts? Anyone arguing for anything less is either blind or just a shill for the GOP.

        For all the opposition to Wainer Apter, you would’ve thought she was the Scalia of the left – she literally was part of the ACLU for less than a year. I would say that I hope she replaces Greenaway on CA3, but that would require the Dems to hold the Senate and I’m getting less optimistic by the day about that…still hoping for a miracle though.


      • I totally get what you are saying, and that is why my hope of having completely balanced state courts will never be totally realized. Way too many FedSoc judges see their position as a way to make rulings that perfectly line up with the GOP position.


    • Well he is a GOP shill. His role model is James Ho. He is part of a group that has wished death upon our Democratic senate candidate in PA and abandoned the one in WI because Bernie Sanders endorsed him. He has admitted on this site that he is a conservative. If Republicans retain the senate he will be smiling. Women and lgbt people won’t be but he is fine with that.


    • If he wanted to badly enough, Murphy could find some RINO and pair them with a progressive Democrat. In this case, the progressive Democrat gets few to no GOP votes and the RINO probably also gets GOP nay votes since the GOP would absolutely complain if this were to happen.


  4. I’m going off topic here and maybe this has already been mentioned. But in California, Gavin Newsom has nominated Patricia Guerrero to be Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court. I had expected that he would nominate either Godwin Liu or Leona Krueger.


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