From 1991 to 1999, Norton served as Attorney General of Colorado. Prior to her election as Colorado Attorney General, Norton served in Washington, D.C as Associate Solicitor of the United States Department of the Interior, overseeing endangered species and public lands legal issues for the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. She also worked as Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and, from 1979 to 1983, as a Senior Attorney for the Mountain States Legal Foundation.
Norton graduated magna cum laude from the University of Denver in 1975 and earned her law degree with honors from the same university in 1978. Before becoming Interior Secretary, Norton was senior counsel at Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber, P.C. She is married to John Hughes.