Q: Did the General Mills thing help?
A: No, it didn’t. It’s funny. I suspect all the
General Mills people were Republicans.
Q: So how did the Mondale job come
A: I just went in and interviewed. I mean, it
was no … anything. No political connections
at all. We spent most of the interview
arguing about the Vietnam War. He was at
that point in favor of it and I was against it.
And he hired me.
Q: He liked your arguments.
A: I don’t know. But I got to work on a
couple of issues there that were absolutely
extraordinary. The first was the Fair Housing
Act of 1968, which passed because Martin
Luther King was assassinated. Mondale had
started out as a junior member of the housing
subcommittee of the banking committee—
talk about an assignment that, at that point,
wasn’t very interesting—and he decided he
would start working on fair housing. It went
through the Senate after a filibuster—a real
filibuster, when people had to stay on the
floor and argue all night; and then it went
through the House right after King was
assassinated. Lyndon Johnson signed it into
law. I don’t think that kind of legislation could
pass now. But I did half of the staff work on
that. The people I got to work with, and the
things I got to see and do, were just amazing.
Q: Such as?
A: The little group that every day prepared
for the filibuster arguments included Ted
Kennedy, Jacob Javits, Chuck Percy from
Illinois, [Joseph] Tydings from Maryland—
there were six of them. Oh, Ed Brook from
Massachusetts. So you go to sit and listen to
them talk and work through things on a daily
basis. I was usually the only staff member
there with Mondale. At one point he told me
I should pay him for my job.
The other thing I worked on for him was an
East-West trade bill. The computer industry
was getting pretty strong in Minnesota—
Control Data and 3M—and those companies
wanted to trade with Europe. But computer
equipment couldn’t be traded anywhere
outside the United States for fear that it
would go on to communist countries. The
bill I got to work on ended that ban on trade
Q: What stands out about your tenure
with Colorado Rural Legal Services?
A: The case that was probably most
significant involved the Hill-Burton Act,
which required the hospitals that received
Hill-Burton funds for construction—that’s
how hospitals got built in the 1950s—were
to provide free or below-cost services; and
the hospital in Greeley was turning away
migrant farmworkers and not providing
any free or below-cost services for them.
We ultimately won that case in the 10th
Circuit. That became, and I think it still is, the
Q: Did you have a mentor there?
A: Not really. Legal Services tended to be
Q: What about when you became a
deputy attorney general?
A: No. [Laughs] I’ve always been pretty much
a Lone Ranger, I guess.
Q: How did the deputy AG job come
A: You know, I never asked J.D. MacFarlane,
who was the attorney general, why he
decided to appoint me. But I think he saw
me at the Capitol. I started representing
Legal Services clients for the state
Legislature. We figured that we might not
get in the court some of the things we
wanted, [but] if we could talk our clients into
coming and testifying before a legislative
committee, we could often get legislation
that changed things. It was a Republican-controlled Legislature, but pretty moderate.
[MacFarlane] was a former state senator,
and when I met him he was the number two
person at the state public defender’s office.
He asked me if I’d be his deputy when he ran
for attorney general. It was a pretty nice job
to have and I said, “Sure.” I basically did all
the hiring and firing there.
Q: Is that tough?
A: Hiring is fun; firing isn’t so much fun. I
also oversaw a lot of the legal work that
was done, kept track of the cases that
were controversial; and if the governor or
secretary of state had a legal question, I was
the person from the attorney general’s office
who would go over and talk with them and
work through it.
The only case I did—because I wasn’t
doing much court work—was one in the
state Supreme Court, where I had the nice
task of arguing that the voter-initiated
amendment that fixed the Denver school
district boundaries with the boundaries of
Denver should be upheld. It was an effort
to keep school integration and busing out
of the suburbs. It wasn’t an issue I was
particular excited about doing, but that’s
what my job was.
Q: Did you win?
A: I won. But I wasn’t too happy about it.
Q: Have you ever thought about …?
A: Running for office?
A: I’m too shy! I hate making telephone
calls. And every time I volunteer to deliver
pamphlets door-to-door, I can’t bring myself
to do it. So my husband is perfectly happy to
do things like that.
Q: You’re able to argue before the U.S.
Supreme Court and yet you’re too shy to …?
A: Yeah. I don’t do well at cocktail parties.
click on video icon
DUBOFSKY ON WH Y HER TIME ON THE
COLORADO SUPREME COURT WAS INVALUABLE
WHEN SHE RETURNED TO PRIVATE PRAC TICE.