October 21, 2014

Luis Rovira, Former Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, Passes Away

According to Law Week Colorado, former Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court Luis Rovira died over the weekend at the age of 88. Rovira served on the state Supreme Court from 1979 when he was appointed by Governor Dick Lamm until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 72 in 1995. He was chief justice during his last five years on the Court. Following his tenure on high court’s bench, he served as a senior judge on panels of the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Rovira was born September 8, 1923, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and grew up in New York City. He served in the infantry in Europe during World War II. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1948 and his law degree in 1950, both from the University of Colorado.  He was in private practice in Denver before serving as a Denver district judge from 1976 to 1979.

One of his most notable decisions came toward the end of his time on the Supreme Court when in 1994 he penned an opinion ruling that Colorado’s Amendment 2, an anti-gay-rights measure, was unconstitutional. The case, Romer v. Evans, was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rovira worked as an arbiter for the Judicial Arbiter Group, or JAG, after stepping down as chief justice. He stopped working full-time in the year before his death, but still had one ongoing case and checked in regularly, said JAG’s Bill Meyer.

Rovira was recently featured as a “Legal Legend” in the Denver Bar Association’s publication, The Docket. Click here to read the article.

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