Justice John Paul Stevens

Justice John Paul Stevens at the Inaugural Stevens Lecture

Justice Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the 2nd Annual Stevens Lecture

Justice Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia speaking at the 4th Annual Stevens Lecture

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at the 3rd Annual Stevens Lecture

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at the 3rd Annual Stevens Lecture

Justice Sotomayor

Justice Sotomayor speaking in 2016

Judge Lucero

Judge Lucero & Suzette Malveaux at the 7th Annual Stevens Lecture

Stevens Lecture 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kegan and Professor Suzette Malveaux at the 8th Annual Stevens Lecture

The annual John Paul Stevens Lecture brings a distinguished jurist to Colorado Law to discuss judging and the state of the judiciary. Former United States Associate Justice John Paul Stevens delivered the inaugural lecture in September 2011. Since then, the lecture has been given by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan (2019); Judge Carlos F. Lucero, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (2018); former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, New York Court of Appeals (2017); Justice Sonia Sotomayor (2016); Justice Antonin Scalia (2014); Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (2013), and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2012). The signature fireside chat format of the lecture presents an opportunity for law students, lawyers, and community members to hear about the jurists’ approach to the bench, career, legal philosophy, and law school advice. The lecture often attracts over 2,000 people to CU Boulder’s Macky Auditorium, and is streamed for a national audience.  

2020 Stevens Lecture with former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa Zak Yacoob

Date: Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020
Time: Noon-1:30 p.m. MDT
Location: Virtual


Justice Yacoob

Zak Yacoob, a former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa from 1998 until 2013 and former anti-apartheid activist, will deliver the ninth annual John Paul Stevens Lecture virtually at 12:00 p.m. MT on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Justice Yacoob is the first international justice to present the Stevens Lecture, which is free and open to the public. Justice Yacoob will share his thoughts on the role of the courts, social justice, and racial equality. His remarks and virtual fireside chat with Professor and Director of the White Center Professor Suzette Malveaux will be followed by a Q&A with Colorado Law students and the broader community.


Justice Yacoob, who has been blind from infancy, studied at the Arthur Blaxall School for the Blind in Durban, South Africa. He completed a law degree at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. While at the university and during his law practice, Justice Yacoob was a member of the African National Congress underground; participated in community organizations involved in anti-apartheid and community activities, including the United Democratic Front and the Detainees Parents’ Support Group; and engaged in activities aimed at protecting the rights of people with disabilities.

From 1973 until 1991, Justice Yacoob ran a significant and diverse commercial and general legal practice, while also engaging in community activities that included defending political prisoners charged for defying unjust apartheid laws, and challenging, on behalf of victims, detentions without trial, house arrest, and other restrictive decrees. He took silk in 1991, an honor in South Africa conferred by the president to advocates for exceptional skill, integrity, and leadership, and practiced as senior counsel until his appointment by Nelson Mandela to the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 1998.

Yacoob is well-known nationally and internationally for his contributions to the socioeconomic rights and jurisprudence of South Africa.

Previous Stevens Lecture Speakers

Justice KaganU.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan visited the University of Colorado Boulder campus Oct. 22-23, 2019, giving the University of Colorado Law School’s John Paul Stevens Lecture at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at Macky Auditorium and meeting with students during select events.

Justice Kagan answered questions in a fireside chat format moderated by Provost Professor of Law and Director of the White Center Suzette Malveaux, followed by a question and answer session with questions from Colorado Law students.

Watch the recording:

On Sept. 27, 2018, the Hon. Carlos F. Lucero, Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, delivered the seventh annual John Paul Stevens Lecture. Lucero’s talk, "A Constitutional Call to Arms and Reflections on a Judicial Career,” focused on contemporary challenges to the Constitution and the role of lawyers in supporting and defending the Constitution.

The lecture included a Q&A discussion with Suzette Malveaux, Provost Professor of Civil Rights Law and director of the White Center. Lucero also responded to questions from student leaders Leah Fugere (’20), president of the Christian Legal Society; Nicholas Monck (’19), president of the Student Bar Association; and Hannah Regan-Smith (‘19), editor-in-chief of the University of Colorado Law Review.

2018 Stevens Lecture

Watch the recording:


Read the published transcript of Judge Lucero's remarks

The 2017 John Paul Stevens Lecture took place September 26 at the Carr Judicial Center in Denver. Former Chief Judge of the State of New York Jonathan Lippman spoke on “Changing the Dialogue on Access to Justice.”

On September 2, 2016, Justice Sonia Sotomayor visited Boulder and participated in a Q&A conversation with more than 1,500 participants for the fifth annual Stevens Lecture.  The audience included students, faculty and community members from the metro area.  Additionally, high school students traveled to Boulder from all over Colorado to meet with Justice Sotomayor and attend the event.


The fourth annual Stevens Lecture was given by Senior Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on October 1, 2014, and discussed constitutional interpretation. More than 1,500 people attended the live lecture at Macky Auditorium, and nearly 400 people watched the live stream of the lecture at University of Wyoming Law School, William & Mary Law School, Colorado College, Fort Lewis College, Western State Colorado University, Ridgway High School, and inside the Wittemyer Courtroom at the University of Colorado Law School.

View the photo gallery

Former Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor delivered the third annual Stevens Lecture on September 17, 2013. Nearly 1,000 people watched live, with additional satellite audiences in the Wolf Law building and colleges throughout Colorado.

Boulder Daily Camera Coverage of the 3rd Annual Stevens Lecture

CU Independent Coverage of the 3rd Annual Stevens Lecture

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The second annual Stevens Lecture was given by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 19, 2012. Nearly 1,000 people watched the lecture live, while satellite audiences enjoyed the lecture from Wolf Law, Colorado College, Fort Lewis College, and Colorado Mesa University.

View the photo gallery