Jean Dubofsky earned an undergraduate degree from Stanford and a law degree from Harvard. She spent two years as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Walter Mondale in Washington, and then she signed on as an attorney for Colorado Rural Legal Services in 1969. This began her long service to the disadvantaged, underserved, and voiceless populations of Colorado.
As director of law reform for Colorado Rural Legal Services, Dubofsky won a case in the Tenth Circuit that enforced the availability of free or low-cost hospital services for low-income people. She then moved to the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Denver, where she developed a legislative program that ultimately resulted in 34 new laws that benefited the poor. Her work also included drafting a reapportionment amendment that became part of the Colorado constitution; getting banks to issue credit cards to women in their own names; convincing courts to allow girls to play organized baseball in Denver parks; and successfully challenging the constitutionality of the workers’ compensation laws that reduced benefits.
In 1975, Dubofsky was appointed Deputy Attorney General for Colorado. In 1979, she became the first woman and the youngest person to become a Colorado Supreme Court Justice. While on the bench she wrote several hundred opinions for the court, including a landmark water law opinion that protected the public interest.
Dubofsky returned to private practice in 1988. She is president of the Colorado Center for Law and Policy, a nonprofit agency empowered to take on class actions and lobbying that was forbidden to legal services agencies. She is a founding member of the Bell Policy Center. She is probably best known for being the lead attorney in the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Colorado’s Amendment 2, which prevented gays and lesbians from obtaining redress for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Dubofsky also has served on the state’s Commission on Judicial Performance; the Colorado Music Festival Board; the Commission on the Status of Women; the Judicial Performance Commission; Supreme Court Board of Continuing Legal and Judicial Education; and the Colorado ACLU Board of Directors. She continues a primarily appellate law practice to protect the civil liberties of Coloradans.