Ann C. Scales

Ann C. Scales (May 29, 1952 – June 24, 2012) was an American Lawyer, activist, and law professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law from 2003-2012 where she taught in Constitutional Law, Sexual Orientation and the Law, Civil Procedure and torts.

She was a founder of the legal field of feminist jurisprudence, and coined the term feminist jurisprudence in 1977.[1]


Early life and education

Ann Catherine Scales was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Her father James R. Scales was the President of Oklahoma Baptist University from 1961 to 1965. He went on to be President of Wake Forest University from 1968 to 1983. Her mother, Elizabeth Ann Randel Scales, had also been a professor and was very active in the Red Cross and in arranging events at these universities.

Scales received her B.A. from Wellesley College in History and Philosophy in 1974 and her J.D. in 1978 from Harvard Law School, where she served on Harvard Legal Aid and the Harvard Women's Law Association. She was a member of the committee that put together "Celebration 25", a party and conference held in 1978 to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first women graduating from Harvard Law School.[2] This project eventually turned into the Harvard Women's Law Journal, currently the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender.


Ann Scales taught at the University of New Mexico Law School for 18 years. She was a visiting professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, Boston College Law School, the University of British Columbia Faulty of Law, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At the time of her death, she was a professor at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law. Ann Scales was among the founders of the field of feminist jurisprudence, and invented the term feminist jurisprudence in 1977 while planning a panel for Celebration 25.[1]

Throughout her career, Ann Scales practiced pro bono law in the fields of reproductive rights and GLBTI rights. She argued the case in which the New Mexico Supreme Court became the first high court of any state to hold that abortion funding is required by women's interest in equality. She also worked on the University of Colorado football gang rape case; the effort to bring a women's marathon to the Olympics; and R. v. Butler, a pornography case in which Canada's Supreme Court redefined obscenity based on the standard of harm it inflicts, particularly to women.[2]

Ann Scales was a former rodeo rider and was in part descended from Cherokee Native Americans. Some of her ancestors walked the Trail of Tears from North Carolina to Oklahoma.

She died on June 24, 2012 in a hospice in Denver, CO as a result of massive brain trauma after a fall down the stairs in her home earlier in the month.[3]



  • Legal Feminism: Activism, Lawyering, and Legal Theory. NYU Press, 2006. ISBN 9780814798454

Journal Articles


  1. Ann Scales (19 May 2006). Legal Feminism: Activism, Lawyering, and Legal Theory. NYU Press. pp. 153–. ISBN 978-0-8147-9845-4.
  2. Strout, Jean. ""I'm Only Gonna Tell You This One More Time:" Lessons from Ann Scales". Harvard Journal of Law & Gender. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  3. Scott Sandlin. "ABQJournal Online » Ann Scales: Law Professor, Feminist Scholar Challenged the Status Quo". Retrieved 2012-06-26.
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