Catherine Smith: Same sex marriage bans unconstitutionally harm children

March 09, 2015

Supreme Court precedent “unequivocally establish[es] that states may not punish children based on matters beyond their control.” And “state marriage bans inevitably and necessarily perform exactly this impermissible function because they deprive children of same-sex couples legal, economic and social benefits associated with the institution of marriage.”

So writes Denver Law’s Catherine Smith, who along with co-authors Lauren Fontana (Denver Law) Susannah Pollvogt (Washburn University School of Law) and Tanya Washington (Georgia State University College of Law) filed an Amicus Curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting petitioners in the marriage equality cases consolidated as Obergefell v. Hodges. Oral arguments will be heard by the Court on April 28, 2015.

Click here to read the entire brief.

Catherine Smith is Keynote Speaker at Diversity Pre-Law Conference, April 10-11, 2015

March 05, 2015


Shaquille Turner, 2L: “I am walking in my purpose”

March 04, 2015

Shaquille Turner, Denver Law 2L and President of the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA), writes about his 2014 summer studies in Cape Town, South Africa in The Docket:

“This year has been the best year of my life thus far. I was able to visit the African continent—a desire I’ve had for a while that was fulfilled this past summer; I truly feel confident in my approach to law school, a confidence I thought I would not attain; and I am in the process of cultivating a beautiful relationship. Life is good. I am over half-way finished with law school and I feel that I am on the right path. I am walking in my purpose. There is a threefold challenge now: I must continue to glean every piece of wisdom I can from every experience law school provides; I must intentionally prepare for life after law school; and I must resist the temptation to succumb to discouragement and burnout.* If I can do these things, I know that I will be fine.”

The article is entitled Law Student Chronicles: Likhona Means Hope. Read the full text here.

Denver Law’s Jessup Team Advances to the International Rounds in D.C.

March 02, 2015

On the weekend of Feb. 27-March 1, 2015 Denver Law’s Jessup Moot Court Team headed to Portland, Oregon to compete in the Pacific Regional Rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Now in its 56th year, the Philip C. Jessup moot is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 550 law schools worldwide. The competition is a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Denver Law Jessup team members J. Matt Thornton (Captain, 3L), Alex Jennings (3L), Maral Shoaei (2L) and Philip Nickerson (2L) placed second overall in the Pacific Regional Competition, thus earning the opportunity to advance to the White & Case International Rounds, which take place in Washington, D.C. in April. Denver Law’s team will compete against over 100 teams from 80+ countries for the Jessup Cup.

A special item of note from this year’s regional competition is that the Denver Law team was undefeated in the preliminary rounds, winning every judge in every oral argument. The team advanced to, and won, quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, defeating the Pacific Regional champions for the past five years, the University of California Hastings College of Law, in the semifinals. Twenty teams competed in the Pacific Regional competition. The team competed against seven teams and lost only in the final round against the University of Hawaii. Captain J. Matt Thornton received the award for 7th Best Oralist overall and the team’s written brief was awarded 6th place. The team was coached by Denver Law alumna and adjunct professor, Megan Matthews (JD’11), a former member of the Denver Law Jessup team. They also received valuable assistance from Coach Emeritus and Denver Law alumnus John Powell (JD’88) and alumna Molly McNab (JD’11). Congratulations to the Jessup team on a job well done!


Pictured from left: J. Matt Thornton (Captain, 3L), Maral Shoaei (2L), Coach Megan Matthews, Alex Jennings (3L) and Philip Nickerson (2L)

Ist Place!

February 25, 2015

1st PLACE!

Vis Moot Court Team


Spring 2015. The Denver Law Vis Team took 1st Place by winning the 9th Annual Michael Thorsnes International Arbitration Competition, hosted by the University of San Diego School of Law. The tournament was part of a series of moot court tournaments leading up to the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Thirty teams competed, representing schools from around the country.

Denver Law was represented by Lorne Hiller, Mamie Ling, Cheyenne Moore and Giedre Stasiunaite. Mamie Ling and Giedre Stasiunaite arbitrated in the Championship Round. Giedre Stasuinaite was runner-up for Best Oralist.

Coren Hinkle

Angela Harris On the Gap Between Racial Disparities and Equal Protection Ideals

February 12, 2015

Professor Angela Harris from U-Cal Davis School of Law spoke at Denver Law on February 12, 2015. She appeared as part of The Equal Protection Initiative, a four-part series designed and put on throughout the spring semester by The Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place and Law. Her talk was entitled, “Protecting Privilege: The Equal Protection Clause in the 21st Century.”

“So what,” she asked the audience numbering one hundred, “do we do about the painful tension between all of these racial disparities and the official ideals of the United States as a society in which race shouldn’t matter? Well, we could do nothing and hope that racism goes away by itself. Or we could try to intervene in these disparities, even though they’re no longer the product of a considered and conscious white supremacy.” Her analysis of current Equal Protection clause jurisprudence leads her to conclude that the Court “facilitates us in taking this do nothing but feel good approach” and “simply provides us with the ability to embrace the ideals of Dr. King without having to do the painful work of making them real.” Click here for the entire talk, including introductions and questions.

RPL member Nancy Ehrenreich, Denver Law Professor, is pictured below with Professor Harris. In the second photo, Professor Harris addresses the issue of marriage equality by talking about the case Loving v Virginia (1967). Denver Law Professor Patience Crowder (bottom photo) introduced Professor Harris.

There’s a Lot Happening this Spring

February 06, 2015


Five Thoughts on the Future for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers - Attorney at Work

February 04, 2015

Five Thoughts on the Future for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers - Attorney at Work »

“Analyzing the Law Through a Racial Justice Lens”: Series at Denver Law

February 02, 2015

Denver Law student orgs ACLU and Black Law Students Association (BLSA) presented the first of four lecture/discussions on February 2, 2015. The series is called “Analyzing the Law Through a Racial Justice Lens.” Professor Robin Walker Sterling led the first presentation, “Ferguson Follow-Up.” Forty students and faculty participated.

Coming topics:
“Race, Communication & Mass Media,” with Professors Lisa Graybill and Alexi Freeman, Wednesday, February 18, noon in Room 180.
“Race and Reproductive Rights,” with Professor Nancy Ehrenreich, Wednesday March 4, noon in Room 180.
“Race and Immigration,” Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Wednesday, March 25, noon in Room 180.
Small group discussions will follow each presentation.

Below, left to right are Denver Law students organizing the series, “Analyzing the Law Through a Racial Justice Lens,” Katie Steefel, Parker Fulton and Shaquille Turner.

The “Equal Protection Initiative” is Underway at Denver Law

January 28, 2015

The Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place and Law (RPL) at Denver Law kicked off its Spring 2015 “Equal Protection Initiative” (EPI) with a panel discussion, “Does Equal Protection Law Protect the Privileged?” held the afternoon of January 28. Denver Law Professors Nancy Ehrenreich, Beto Juárez and Tom Romero joined Colorado Law Professor Aya Gruber in a discussion of recent Supreme Court cases on race discrimination. Click here to see the full panel discussion.

The EPI continues throughout the Spring semester:

Thursday, February 12:
Angela Harris, University of California, Davis Law Professor will lecture
Reception at 4:15 (the Forum), Lecture at 5:30 (Room 165)

Tuesday, March 10:
Panel Discussion: Lessons from Amendment 46 (the Colorado anti-affirmative action amendment defeated in 2008)
4:00 pm, Room TBD

Tuesday, April 21:
Angela Onwuachi-Willig, University of Iowa College of Law will lecture
Reception at 4:15 (the Forum), Lecture at 5:30 (Room 165)

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