Published: Feb. 5, 2024
new faculty

Faculty whose expertise includes criminal law, American legal history, and American Indian & Indigenous Peoples law will join the University of Colorado Law School this August. 
Lolita Buckner Inniss, Dean and Provost’s Professor of Law, announced the appointment of two professors to Colorado Law’s full-time faculty: Jonathon Booth and Vanessa Racehorse. 
“We are thrilled to welcome these exceptional scholars and teachers to our esteemed faculty,” said Dean Inniss. “Professors Booth and Racehorse each bring to Colorado Law cutting-edge research and an unwavering commitment to educating the next generation of legal and civic leaders.” 
Meet Colorado Law’s newest professors: 

Jonathon Booth

Jonathon Booth is a historian of democracy, race, law, and policing in the United States. He teaches courses including Criminal Law, American Legal History, and Law and History of Policing.  

Booth’s research reaches from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and focuses on the practical impact of law and its enforcement – in other words, how the law tangibly affects Americans. His most recent article The Cycle of Delegitimization: Lessons From Dred Scott on the Relationship Between the Supreme Court and the Nation, which appears in the UC Law Constitutional Quarterly, demonstrates that the Dred Scott decision met immediately with strong opposition from Northerners that delegitimized the Supreme Court and made the decision itself a dead letter. The article then uses this history to explore how the federal government and pro-choice states could respond to a potential Supreme Court decision further limiting abortion rights. He is currently working on articles entitled Policing Atlanta After Emancipation: Race, Crime, and Resistance and The Legal Architecture of Emancipation.    

Before coming to Colorado, Jonathon was the Legal History Fellow at the Harvard History Design Studio and clerked for the Hon. Barrington D. Parker on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the Hon. Kevin McNulty on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. He received his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 2021 and his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 2019. He received his B.A. in History and Economics, joint honours, from McGill University.  

Vanessa Racehorse

Vanessa Racehorse will join the Colorado Law faculty as an Associate Professor of Law and a core faculty member of the American Indian Law Program. Her teaching and scholarship focus on American Indian & Indigenous Peoples law, human rights, international law, and environmental justice. Racehorse is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and a descendant of the Cherokee Nation and Shoshone-Paiute Tribes.   

Professor Racehorse currently teaches on the faculty at the University of New Mexico School of Law and has previously taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law. Prior to entering academia, she served as a Deputy Attorney General for the Colorado River Indian Tribes, an attorney for the California Native American Heritage Commission, and an Associate Attorney at Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP, a top-ranked national law firm dedicated to representing Native American interests. She is admitted to practice in the State of California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. 

Professor Racehorse has a B.A. from the University of Denver, an LL.M in International Criminal Law from the University of Amsterdam and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a recipient of the Parker School Recognition of Achievement in International and Comparative Law, President of the Columbia Native American Law Students Association, and the Bluebook Editor for the Columbia Law Review.