Published: March 1, 2018 By

Supreme Court

In her role as director of Colorado Law’s Byron R. White Center, Melissa Hart brought a lot of distinguished judges to CU Boulder.

Now she’s become one herself — in December, Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper named the CU law professor to the state Supreme Court.

An expert in constitutional law, Hart first came to CU in 2000, after a pair of prominent legal clerkships, a law firm job in Washington, D.C., and experience as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice.

A graduate of East High School in Denver and Harvard Law School, she served as a U.S. Supreme Court clerk for former Justice John Paul Stevens.

melissa hart

“I am really excited to join the six justices currently on the court in working to make sure that our system is efficient and fair — that the work it does is clear and transparent, and that it works for people all over Colorado,” Hart said after Hickenlooper announced her appointment, according to The Denver Post.

Hart — whose grandfather Archibald Cox served as U.S. Solicitor General under John F. Kennedy and as Watergate special prosecutor — had previously made the shortlist for a seat on Colorado’s seven-member Supreme Court, in 2015.

She got another shot after Allison H. Eid — a former Colorado Law professor — left the court for a position on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. (That seat came open when its prior occupant — former visiting Colorado Law professor Neil Gorsuch — joined the U.S. Supreme Court last April.)

The Colorado Supreme Court has at least two other members with strong Buff ties: Justice Nathan B. Coats (Econ’71; Law’77) is an alumnus. Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice has been an adjunct law professor since 1987.

Hart will continue to teach a course at CU.

The law school will name a new director for the Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law, named after former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White (Econ’38).


Photo by ©iStock/MarkusBeck/Headshot courtesy CU Law School