Associate Professor of Law
J.D., Harvard Law School, 2002
M.A., Princeton University, 2011
Ph.D., American History, Princeton University, 2013
B.A., University of Virginia, 1998
Jessica Lowe specializes in 18th- and 19th-century American legal, intellectual, and religious history. She received her J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School in 2002; after law school, she clerked in the District of Connecticut and on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Lowe also practiced appellate law at Jones Day in Washington, D.C., where she worked on a number of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Lowe received her B.A. (high honors) from the University of Virginia in 1998, and also studied at Yale Divinity School (1999-2000), where she was a Marquand Scholar. She has held a number of fellowships, including an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship and a Princeton University Center for Human Values Graduate Prize Fellowship, and in 2013 was a fellow at the Hurst Institute for Legal History at the University of Wisconsin. In 2011, she received the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni's Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
At Virginia, Lowe teaches legal history, constitutional history, and classes in crime and punishment. She is the founder of the interdisciplinary Legal History Writing Group, which brings together scholars from Law, History, Politics, and Religious Studies once monthly for informal discussions of works in progress, and co-coordinates the Law School’s Legal History Workshop series. In 2013, she co-organized a conference commemorating the 100th anniversary of Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution (1913). Lowe has also served as a fellow at Brown College, the undergraduate residential college, and is a member of the Early American Studies colloquium at the International Center for Jefferson Studies.
Lowe is currently at work on two book projects. One, based on her doctoral dissertation, is titled Murder in the Shenandoah: Commonwealth v. John Crane and Law in Federal Virginia, and is a history of a controversial 1791 Virginia murder case. The second, Sacred Texts, is a history of American biblical and legal textualism from the Revolution to the Civil War. In 2014-15, she will be a fellow with the Center of Theological Inquiry and Program in Law and Public Affairs in Princeton, N.J., as part of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
Articles and Book Reviews:
"Radicalism's Legacy: American Legal History Since 1998," in Zeitschrift für Neuere Rechtsgeschichte (forthcoming).
“Ideas that Matter: Beard’s Legacy for Today’s History,” in Constitutional Commentary (forthcoming).
“Farming, Fighting, and the Hermeneutics of Southern Legal History” (under submission).
Review of Charles F. Hobson, ed., St. George Tucker's Law Reports and Selected Papers, 1782-1825. (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2013), Journal of Southern History (forthcoming 2014).
“Guarding Republican Liberty: St. George Tucker and Judging in Federal Virginia” in Sally Hadden and Patricia Minter eds., Signposts: New Directions in Southern Legal History 111 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2013).
“A Separate Peace? The Politics of Localized Law in the Post-Revolutionary Era.” 36 Law & Social Inquiry 788 (Summer 2011).
Murder in the Shenandoah: Commonwealth v. John Crane and Law in Federal Virginia (book manuscript in progress).
Sacred Texts, Sacred Interpretation: How America Became a Nation of the Word (book manuscript in progress).