Tom I. Romero II

Associate Professor

Assistant Provost of IE Research and Curriculum Initiatives for University of Denver


Environmental and Natural Resources Law, Legal History, Property Law, Water Law

Professional Biography

Professor Romero is an Associate Professor of Law and is Affiliated Faculty with the Department of History. He teaches and researches in the areas of the legal history of the American West, Latinos and the law, school desegregation in multiracial contexts, property, land use, water law, and urban development and local government in the United States and Latin America. His work on such topics have appeared in the Colorado Law Review, the Utah Law Review, the New Mexico Law Review, the Albany Law Review, the Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice, the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review, the Seattle Journal for Social Justice, the Oregon Review of International Law, and the Chicano-Latino Law Review, among others. A native Denverite and undergraduate alum of the University of Denver, Dr. Romero is graduate of the University of Michigan where he received his J.D. and Ph.D. in history.

Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2010, Dr. Romero was a Professor of Law and History at Hamline University School of Law. From 2000-2003, he also served as the Western Legal Studies Fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center of the American West, Law School and Department of History. There, he completed a statewide survey of resources related to the legal history of Colorado and wrote a regular “historical perspective” column for the state bar journal, The Colorado Lawyer.

At the University of Michigan, Dr. Romero acted as a contributing editor of the Michigan Journal of Race and Law, worked with the legal counsel of the student interveners in Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 US 244 (2003), and spent time in Lima, Peru as a consultant on 19th century American property law for Hernando De Soto in his book: The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. As part of this project, Dr. Romero also collaborated with Peruvian civil lawyers and their work in formalizing title to property that is occupied by families and individuals possessing tracts of land.

Currently, Dr. Romero is revising a book manuscript on multiracial formation and the law in post-World War II Denver, Colorado; where among other aspect of the analysis, he extensively explores Keyes v. School Board No. One, 413 US 189 (1973) (the first non-Southern school desegregation case to reach the United States Supreme Court). In collaboration with the Denver Law Review, Dr. Romero has helped to put together a special symposium analyzing the impact and importance of the Keyes case since it was decided in 1973. As Assistant Vice-Provost for IE Research and Curriculum Initiatives for the larger university, Tom will be working to make the University of Denver one of the premier institutions in the country for the rigorous study of social and institutional inequality through the University’s IRISE initiative.

Dr. Romero is on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy & Research Organization (CLLARO) and is an active member of LatCrit, Inc., Law and Society, the American Studies Association, the Western History Association, and the Hispanic National Bar Association.

Beyond the Page: Please visit the “Beyond the Page”feature to Professor Romero’s recent article, Observations on History, Law, and the Rise of the New Jim Crow in State-Level Immigration Law and Policy for Latinos, in the March 2014 edition of the American Quarterly.

VIDEO: Prof. Tom Romero presents at 2012 Provost Lecture and Luncheon. Click Here to view a streaming video of this presentation.

A War to Keep Alien Labor Out of Colorado: 1935-1936: On February 29, 2012, Professor Romero presented the 2012 Winter Quarter Provost’s Luncheon and Lecture. His presentation explored the decision by Colorado Governor Edwin Johnson to deploy local police and the state militia against “illegal” Mexican immigrants in 1935 and 1936. Over the course of several months, Governor Johnson deployed troops to Colorado’s border with New Mexico and Oklahoma, rounded up “illegal aliens” in road-side stops and home raids, and placed undocumented suspects in a holding camp near Denver, Colorado.

Due to the fact that a vast majority of those “Mexicans” rounded up were American citizens, Governor Johnson was forced to stop the militarization of immigration enforcement altogether and extend an apology to the Mexican government. Situated against a backdrop of a long history of local and state policing of Mexicans in the United States, Professor’s Romero’s presentation highlights Colorado’s efforts in context of the long and failed policy of non-federal responses to immigration.

View CV


  • PhD, History, University of Michigan, 2004
  • JD, University of Michigan, 2000
  • MA, History, University of Michigan, 1999
  • BA, History/Public Affairs, University of Denver, 1995

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