Virginia offers courses in civil rights and anti-discrimination law, but equally important is a wide array of courses in constitutional law and history. These offerings reflect the ways in which the struggle for civil rights shaped — and continues to shape — our country and institutions.
Each year the Center for the Study of Race and Law brings a visiting professor to teach a short course. Past visitors include:
- Devon Carbado, Professor of Law and former vice dean of the faculty, UCLA School of Law
- Richard Banks, Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
- Dorothy Brown, Professor of Law, Emory Law School
The Scholarly Paper Competition encourages and recognizes outstanding scholarship pertaining to race and law by law students in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The top three winning papers’ authors are invited to present an oral summary of their work at a special program held at the Law School. Recognized papers have covered topics such as affirmative action, the Insular Cases and the 14th Amendment, and the response to the crisis in Darfur. Recent winning submissions were accepted for publication in the Virginia Law Review, the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and Law, and the Virginia Journal of International Law.
The Center for the Study of Race and Law promotes projects that advance racial justice in the legal system. The center partnered with The Sentencing Project to submit a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Kimbrough v. United States that challenged the idea of mandatory sentencing guidelines for the manufacture and distribution of crack cocaine. Sentencing guidelines for powder cocaine recommended a much shorter sentence, suggesting that crack cocaine guidelines are in part motivated by race because they disproportionately affect African-American defendants. The Supreme Court sided with Kimbrough (and the center) and ruled that the sentencing guidelines were not mandatory.
Contact: Center Director Professor Alex M. Johnson Jr.