Gregory Kellam Scott, the only Black person to serve on the Colorado Supreme Court and a role model for the state’s Black legal community, died unexpectedly Wednesday at his home in Anderson, Indiana. He was 72.
“He was a giant,” Patty Powell, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, said Thursday.
Scott was sworn onto the court on Jan. 15, 1993, after being appointed by Gov. Roy Romer, and he served seven years, stepping down in 2000 to become vice president and general counsel of Kaiser-Hill LLC, a private company contracted to clean up Rocky Flats, the former nuclear weapons facility in the northwest Denver suburbs.
In announcing his retirement, Scott said, “I can only hope that I have applied the law according to the facts before the court so as to leave it and Colorado better than when I first arrived. This has been the experience of a lifetime.”
Before he sought a seat on the Colorado Supreme Court, Scott asked for advice from friends, including Powell, one of his DU law students, on whether or not he should go for it.