COLORADO FREEDOM INSTITUTE
Michael J. Norton
president and General counsel
Michael J. Norton serves as president and general counsel of the Colorado Freedom Institute, a nonprofit legal organization dedicated to defending and protecting the religious freedoms guaranteed to Coloradans and other Americans by the First Amendment. The Colorado Freedom Institute also promotes and protects the sanctity of life and marriage and the family.
Norton is also an attorney with the Denver, Colorado law firm of Thomas N. Scheffel & Associates, P.C. TNS is a full-service law firm that focuses on, among other areas, estate planning and probate litigation, business law, and complex civil litigation.
Norton was appointed United States Attorney for Colorado by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, and was reappointed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. As United States Attorney, Norton served as the chief federal law enforcement officer for Colorado and directed the United States Department of Justice’s criminal and civil justice priorities. Among other challenges, Norton headed federal investigations and prosecutions of organized crime trafficking in narcotics and dangerous drugs, environmental crimes, financial institution crimes, and securities frauds.
Norton has been practicing law since 1975. He earned his J.D. degree in 1968 from American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. Over the years, Norton has tried over 200 cases and has appeared in numerous federal and state courts, including in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wyoming. He is currently admitted to the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He is also a member of the state bars of Colorado and Virginia.
Norton earned a Master's of Divinity degree from Denver Seminary in May 2009. Since July 1983, Norton has periodically taught or led Bible studies in churches or other settings throughout Colorado.
Norton is married to the former Jane Ellen Bergman of Grand Junction, Colorado. Mrs. Norton served as Colorado’s 46th Lieutenant Governor from 2003 to 2007. In 2010, Mrs. Norton was a Republican candidate for the United States Senate from Colorado. She is currently engaged in a private, nonprofit consulting business.
The Nortons have four children, seven grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Their oldest son Jeff died of leukemia in 1983. The Nortons reside in Arapahoe County, Colorado and attend Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church.
Director of Communication
Dennis Durband directs communication efforts for the Colorado Freedom Institute. His duties include website management, media relations, marketing and fundraising.
Durband earned a bachelor's degree in journalism at Northwestern College, Iowa and a master's degree in organizational communication at Western Michigan University.
He previously served as a media relations specialist at Arizona State University, director of communications at United Families International and marketing writer at Alliance Defending Freedom. Additionally, he formerly served as the sports editor of the Casper Star-Tribune, in Wyoming, where he was a Heisman Trophy voter.
Durband is married to the former Steffanie McFarland of Mesa, Arizona. She previously taught in Christian schools and served in youth ministry in the Phoenix area. They have two children and six grandchildren. The Durbands live in Show Low, Arizona and worship at Mountain Bible Church.