A. E. Dick Howard

  • Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law

Widely acknowledged as an expert in the fields of constitutional law, comparative constitutionalism, and the Supreme Court, A. E. Dick Howard is the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law at the University of Virginia. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Professor Howard is a graduate of the University of Richmond and received his law degree from the University of Virginia. He was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics, and economics. After graduating from law school, he was a law clerk to Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Active in public affairs, Professor Howard was executive director of the commission that wrote Virginia's current constitution and directed the successful referendum campaign for its ratification. He has been counsel to the General Assembly of Virginia and a consultant to state and federal bodies, including the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. From 1982 to 1986 he served as counselor to the Governor of Virginia, and he chaired Virginia's Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution.

Professor Howard has been twice a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in Washington, D.C. He has served as president of the Virginia Academy of Laureates and has received the University of Virginia's Distinguished Professor Award for excellence in teaching. James Madison University, the University of Richmond, Campbell University, the College of William and Mary, and, in 2000, Wake Forest University have conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. In the fall of 2001, he was the first Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Residence at Rhodes House, Oxford.

Professor Howard is the author of a number of books, articles, and monographs. These include The Road from Runnymede: Magna Carta and Constitutionalism in America and Commentaries on the Constitution of Virginia, which won a Phi Beta Kappa prize. More recent works include Democracy's Dawn and Constitution-making in Eastern Europe.

Professor Howard has briefed and argued cases before state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a regular guest on television news programs; during the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, Professor Howard provided gavel-to-gavel coverage for the “McNeil-Lehrer News Program.” He also interviewed the justices for the film being shown to visitors to the Supreme Court's building in Washington.

Often consulted by constitutional draftsmen in other states and abroad, Professor Howard has compared notes with revisers at work on new constitutions in Brazil, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Albania, Malawi, and South Africa. In 1996, the Union of Czech Lawyers, citing Professor Howard's promotion of the idea of a civil society in Central Europe, awarded him their Randa Medal—the first time this honor has been conferred upon anyone but a Czech citizen. In 2004, the Greater Richmond Chapter of the World Affairs Council conferred on him their George C. Marshall Award in International Law and Diplomacy.

In January 1994, Washingtonian magazine named Professor Howard as one of the most respected educators in the nation. In 2007, the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Library of Virginia included Professor Howard on their list of the "greatest Virginians" of the 20th century.

In 2013 the University of Virginia recognized Howard with its Thomas Jefferson Award — the highest honor given to faculty members at the University. The award commended Howard "for advancing, through his character, work, and personal example the ideals and objectives for which Jefferson founded the University."

In 2016, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, in announcing the restoration of voting rights to convicted felons, recognized Howard for his consultation on the matter as "the foremost constitutional authority in Virginia." (Full Speech)

Scholarship Profile: Constitutional Scholar: Ideas and Initiatives (Virginia Journal 2013)


  • LL.B.
    University of Virginia School of Law
  • M.A.
    University of Oxford
  • B.A.
    University of Richmond

Books and Monographs: 

Toward the Open Society in Central and Eastern Europe (Tanner Lectures on Human Values, 1995).

The Constitution in the Making: Perspectives of the Original Thirteen States (editor) (National Center for State Courts, 1993).

Constitution Making in Eastern Europe (editor) (Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1993).

Toward Constitutionalism and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe (editor) (Virginia Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, 1992).

The United States Constitution: Roots, Rights, and Responsibilities (editor) (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992).

Virginia and the Constitution (editor with Melvin I. Urofsky) (Virginia Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, 1992).

The Bill of Rights, the Courts, and the Law (with Robert M. O’Neil et al.) (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy, 1991).

Democracy’s Dawn: A Directory of American Initiatives on Constitutionalism, Democracy, and the Rule of Law in Central and Eastern Europe (University Press of Virginia, 1991).

The Road to Constitutionalism (Virginia Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, 1990).

I’ll See You in Court: The States and the Supreme Court (National Governors’ Association Center for Policy Research, 1980).

State Aid to Private Higher Education (Michie, 1977).

Fair Trial and Free Expression: A Background Report Prepared for and Presented to the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights (with Sanford A. Newman) (Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Committee Print, 1976).

Commentaries on the Constitution of Virginia (University Press of Virginia, 1974).

State Financial Measures Involving the Private Sector of Higher Education (with William H. McFarlane and Jay L. Chronister) (National Council of Independent Colleges and Universities, 1974).

Virginia Votes for a New Constitution (with Harry M. Bradley and Tim Finchem) (Virginia Western Community College, 1973).

Virginia’s Urban Corridor: A Preliminary Inquiry (with Leigh E. Grosenick, Dennis W. Barnes and Jerry L. Mashaw) (University of Virginia Center for the Study of Science, Technology, and Public Policy, 1970).

The Constitution of Virginia: Report of the Commission on Constitutional Revision(executive director) (Michie, 1969).

Jamestown Essays on Representation (editor) (University Press of Virginia, 1969).

The Road from Runnymede: Magna Carta and Constitutionalism in America (University Press of Virginia, 1968).

The Virginia Lawyer: A Basic Practice Handbook (editor) (Virginia State Bar Association, 1966; rev. 1970).

Criminal Justice in Our Time (editor) (University Press of Virginia, 1965).

Magna Carta: Text and Commentary (University Press of Virginia, 1964; rev. ed. 1998). 

Book Chapters:

“Magna Carta’s American Adventure,” in Robin Griffith-Jones, ed., Magna Carta 1215-2015, at 42 (Temple Church, 2015).
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“Magna Carta’s American Journey,” in Randy J. Holland, ed., Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor 103 (Thomson Reuters/Library of Congress, 2015).

“The Six Constitutions of Virginia,” in Anne Marie Morgan & A.R. “Pete” Giesen, Jr., eds.,Governing Virginia 19 (Pearson Learning Solutions, 2012).

“The Road from Monticello: The Influence of the American Constitutional Experience in Other Lands,” in Robert Fatton, Jr. & R. K. Ramazani, eds., Religion, State, and Society: Jefferson’s Wall of Separation in Comparative Perspective 73 (Palgrave Macmillan 2009).

“The Constitutional Convention of 1787,” in Historians on America: Decisions That Made a Difference 9 (U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs, 2007).

“Adopting a New Constitution: Lessons from Virginia,” in G. Alan Tarr & Robert F. Williams, eds., 1 State Constitutions for the Twenty-first Century: The Politics of State Constitutional Reform 73 (State University of New York Press, 2006).

“Willi Paul Adams and American Constitutionalism,” in Andreas Etges & Ursula Lehmkuhl, eds., Atlantic Passages: Constitution – Immigration – Internationalization: In Memoriam Willi Paul Adams 45 (Lit, 2006).

“Another ‘Springtime of Nations’?: Rights in Central and Eastern Europe,” in Robert Fatton, Jr. & R. K. Ramazani, eds., The Future of Liberal Democracy: Thomas Jefferson and the Contemporary World 123 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

“Judicial Independence in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe,” in Peter H. Russell & David M. O’Brien, eds., Judicial Independence in the Age of Democracy: Critical Perspectives from Around the World 89 (University Press of Virginia, 2001).

“Constitutional Courts in Central and Eastern Europe,” in G. O. Mazur, ed., Twenty-Five Year Commemoration to the Life of Hans Kelsen (1898-1973), at 53 (Semenenko Foundation, 1999).

“Judicial Review: India and America,” in India’s Constitution in the 21st Century: “The Constitution Assembly”, December 19-22, 1999, at 215 (Bar Association of India, 1999).

“Development of Constitutionalism” (with Mark F. Brzezinski), in Richard F. Staar, ed.,Transition to Democracy in Poland 133 (2d ed., St. Martin’s Press, 1998).

“Constitutions and Rights in Central and Eastern Europe.” in Michael Dunne & Tiziano Bonazzi, eds., Citizenship and Rights in Multicultural Societies 221 (Keele University Press, 1995).

“Does Federalism Secure or Undermine Rights?” in Ellis Katz & G. Alan Tarr, eds.,Federalism and Rights 11 (Rowman and Littlefield, 1995).

“La Conception Mécaniste de la Constitution,” in Michel Troper & Lucien Jaume, eds.,1789 et l’Invention de la Constitution 153 (L.G.D.J. - Bruylant, 1994).

“Constitutional Reform,” in Richard F. Staar, ed., Transition to Democracy in Poland 97 (St. Martin’s, 1993).

“Rights in Passage: English Liberties in Early America,” in Patrick T. Conley & John P. Kaminski, eds., The Bill of Rights and the States: The Colonial and Revolutionary Origins of American Liberties 3 (Madison House, 1992).

“Virginia: Constitutionalism’s Hourglass,” in A.E. Dick Howard & Melvin I. Urofsky, eds.,Virginia and the Constitution 11 (Virginia Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, 1992).

“The Constitution and Free Expression,” in Teaching the Constitution: Classroom Strategies for Secondary Schools (Eagleton Institute of Politics, 1991).

“The Essence of Constitutionalism,” in Kenneth W. Thompson & Rett R. Ludwikowski, eds., Constitutionalism and Human Rights: America, Poland, and France: A Bicentennial Colloquium at the Miller Center 3 (University Press of America, 1991).

“Une Perspective de 200 Ans,” in Comites d’Ethique a Travers le Monde: Recherche en Cours 1989, at 130 (Editions Tierce, 1991).

“The Constitution Today and Tomorrow,” in John W. Elsberg, ed., Papers on the Constitution 169 (U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1990).

“Federalism,” in Politics and the Constitution: The Nature and Extent of Interpretation 85 (National Legal Center for the Public Interest, 1990).

“Federalism: The Historical Context,” in Politics and the Constitution: The Nature and Extent of Interpretation 85 (American Studies Center, 1990).

“Libertà di Espressione, Libertà dell’Arte e il Primo Emendamento,” in Guido Clemente di San Luca, ed., Tutela, Promozione e Libertà dell’Arte in Italia e negli Stati Uniti 159 (Giuffrè, 1990).

“Protecting Human Rights in a Federal System,” in Mark Tushnet, ed., Comparative Constitutional Federalism: Europe and America 115 (Greenwood Press, 1990).

“Rights and the Constitution: Judicial Protection of Social Rights in American Constitutional Law,” in Guy Braibant & Gerard Marcou, eds., Les Droits de L’homme: Universalité et Renouveau, 1789-1989, at 318 (Editions L’Harmattan, 1990).

“The Supreme Court and the Living Constitution,” in Robert S. Peck, ed., To Govern a Changing Society: Constitutionalism and the Challenge of New Technology 21 (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990).

“The Idea of Rights,” in Les Droits de l’Homme and Scientific Progress 12 (Smithsonian Institution, 1989).

“Federalism at the Bicentennial,” in Harry N. Scheiber, ed., Federalism: Studies in History, Law, and Policy 3 (University of California at Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, 1988); reprinted in 62 J. St. Gov’t 12 (1989).

“The Supreme Court and the Serpentine Wall,” in Merrill D. Peterson & Robert C. Vaughan, eds., The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: its Evolution and Consequences in American History 313 (Cambridge University Press, 1988).

“Church and State in America,” in Ralph S. Pollock, ed., Renewing the Dream: National Archives Bicentennial ‘87 Lectures on Contemporary Constitutional Issues 3 (University Press of America, 1986).

“State Constitutions: An Essential Part of the American Constitutional System,” in Robert S. Peck & Ralph S. Pollock, eds., The Blessings of Liberty: Bicentennial Lectures of the National Archives 125 (American Bar Association, 1986).
“The Challenge of the Constitution’s Bicentennial,” in Charles J. White & Norman Gross, eds., The Bulwark of Freedom: Public Understanding of the Law 167 (American Bar Association, 1985).

“Federalism in the Courts,” in Emerging Issues in American Federalism: Papers Prepared for ACIR’s 25th Anniversary 27 (Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1985).

“Introduction: A Frequent Recurrence to Fundamental Principles,” in Bradley D. McGraw, ed., Developments in State Constitutional Law xi (West, 1985).

“James Madison and the Founding of the Republic”; “The Supreme Court and the Establishment of Religion”; and “Madison and the Republic,” in Robert S. Alley, ed.,James Madison on Religious Liberty 21, 279, 320 (Prometheus Books, 1985).

“Privacy and Autonomy in American Law,” in Lewis H. Lapham, ed., High Technology and Human Freedom 33 (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985).

“Toward Constitutional Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe,” in Richard C. Remy & Jacek Strzemieczny, eds., Building Civic Education for Democracy in Poland 175 (National Council for the Social Studies, 1996).

“The Wall of Separation: The Supreme Court as Uncertain Stonemason,” in James E. Wood, Jr., ed., Religion and the State: Essays in Honor of Leo Pfeffer 85 (Baylor University Press, 1985).

“When States Amend Their Constitutions,” in Donald L. Robinson, ed., Reforming American Government: The Bicentennial Papers of the Committee on the Constitutional System 288 (Westview Press, l985).

“From Mason to Modern Times: 200 Years of American Rights,” in Josephine F. Pacheco, ed., The Legacy of George Mason 95 (Associated University Presses, 1984).

“Five Men in a Bar: Judicial Review in a Democratic Society,” in Bette Goulet, ed., The Courts: Separation of Powers 5 (Roscoe Pound-American Trial Lawyers Foundation, 1983).

“Up Against the Wall: The Uneasy Separation of Church and State,” in Jaye B. Hensel, ed., Church, State and Politics 5 (Roscoe Pound-American Trial Lawyers Foundation, 1981); reprinted in 38 Union Seminary Q. Rev. 361 (1984).

“The Burger Court and the First Amendment: Putting a Decade in Perspective: I. A Framework,” in Bill F. Chamberlin & Charlene J. Brown, eds., The First Amendment Reconsidered: New Perspectives on the Meaning of Freedom of Speech and Press 129 (Longman, 1982).

“Judicial Federalism: The States and the Supreme Court,” in Robert B. Hawkins, ed.,American Federalism: A New Partnership for the Republic 215 (Institute for Contemporary Studies, 1982).

“The Supreme Court and Federalism,” in The Courts, the Pendulum of Federalism 49 (Roscoe Pound-American Trial Lawyers Foundation, 1979).

“‘For the Common Benefit’: The Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776,” in The George Mason Lectures: Honoring the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Virginia Declaration of Rights 11 (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1976).

“Magna Carta: An American Tradition,” in The Judicial Conference of Virginia: Seventeenth Session 58 (Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, 1965).


“Magna Carta: 800 Years after Runnymede,” VBA J., Winter 2014-2015, at 20.

"The Changing Face of the Supreme Court," Va. L. Rev. (2015).
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"Ten Things the 2012-13 Term Tells Us About the Roberts Court," 99 Va. L. Rev. Online 48 (2013).
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“The Uncertain Journey to the Rule of Law,” Occasional Papers Va. Holocaust Museum(2013).

“The Constitution and the Role of Government,” 6 Charleston L. Rev. 449 (2012).
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“Now We Are Six: The Emerging Roberts Court,” 98 Va. L. Rev. In Brief 1 (2012).

“Out of Infancy: The Roberts Court at Seven,” 98 Va. L. Rev. In Brief 76 (2012).

“The Virginia Constitution at 40: A History of Our State Constitution – Is It Fulfilling the Blessings of Liberty?,” VBA News J., Spring 2012, at 22.

“A Traveler from an Antique Land: The Modern Renaissance of Comparative Constitutionalism,” 50 Va. J. Int’l L. 3 (2009).
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“The Bridge at Jamestown: The Virginia Charter of 1606 and Constitutionalism in the Modern World,” 42 U. Rich. L. Rev. 9 (2007).
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“‘To Say What the Law Is’: The Supreme Court as Arbiter of Constitutionality,” Issues in Democracy, Apr. 2005, at 5.

“Toward Constitutional Democracy in Iraq: An American Perspective,” 91 Am. Oxonian268 (2005).

“America after September 11,” 89 Am. Oxonian 326 (2003).

“Toward Constitutional Democracy: An American Perspective,” 19 J.L. & Pol. 285 (2003).
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“America after September 11,” Pamplin Leadership Lecture Series (Virginia Tech, 2001).

“Constitutionalism and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe,” Occasional Papers Woodrow Wilson Int’l Center for Scholars (2000).

“After Communism: Devolution in Central and Eastern Europe,” 40 S. Tex. L. Rev. 661 (1999).
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“The Indeterminacy of Constitutions,” 31 Wake Forest L. Rev. 383 (1996).
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“Chief Enigma,” A.B.A. J., Oct. 1995, at 66.

“Constitution-Making in Central and Eastern Europe,” 28 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 5 (1994).
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“Constitutions and Constitutionalism in Central and Eastern Europe,” CSCE ODIHR Bull., Winter 1994, at 1.

“The Federal Model of the United States,” 1 New Eur. L. Rev. 143 (1993).

“How Ideas Travel: Rights at Home and Abroad,” 22 Stetson L. Rev. 893 (1993).
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“The Uses of Federalism: The American Experience,” 8 Am. U. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 389 (1993).
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“Drafting Constitutions for the New Democracies,” Probs. Communism, Jan./Apr. 1992, at 63.

“Learning to Use State Constitutions: Emerging Issues in State Constitutional Law,” Trial Law. Q., Fall 1992, at 30.

“Our Rights at Risk,” St. Gov’t, July 1992, at 20.

“How Ideas Travel: The Bill of Rights at Home and Abroad,” N.Y. St. B.J., Dec. 1991, at 6.

“Les Droits et la Constitution: La Protection Judiciare des Droits Sociaux en Droit Constitutionnel Américain,” 40 Revue Française de Science Politique 173 (1990).

“Az Alkotmanyossag Biztositekai” (“The Safeguards of Constitutionalism”), 36 Magyar Jog1026 (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1989)

“Living with the Warren Legacy,” A.B.A. J., Oct. 1989, at 69.

“Renesancia Ustavneho Prava v. Jednotlivych Statoch USA,” 72 Právník: Teoreticky Câsopsis pro Otázky Státu a Práva 715 (Slovak Academy of Sciences, 1989).

“The Renaissance of State Constitutional Law,” 1988 Emerging Issues St. Const. L. 1.

“Echoes from Runnymede: Magna Carta’s American Legacy,” Mass. L. Rev., Sept. 1987, at 33.

“Federalism: The Linchpin of Liberty,” State Legis., May-June 1987, at 22.

“Federalism Lives,” Update on Law-Related Educ., Fall 1987, at 15.

“The Legacy of James Madison,” Va. Independent, Mar. 1987, at 1.

“Making It Work,” Wilson Q., Spring 1987, at 122.

“Our Litigious Society,” 38 S.C. L. Rev. 365 (1987).
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“State Constitutions: Pillars of the Federal System,” 17 This Const. 34 (1987).

“Virginia as a Testing Ground for American Constitutionalism,” Va. B. News, Aug. 1987, at 11.

Garcia: Of Federalism and Constitutional Values,” Publius, Summer 1986, at 17.

“Justice William H. Rehnquist: A Key Fighter in Major Battles,” A.B.A. J., June 15, 1986, at 47.

“The Renaissance of State Constitutional Law,” 63 U. Va. Inst. Gov’t News Letter 1 (1986).

Garcia and the Values of Federalism: On the Need for a Recurrence to Fundamental Principles,” 19 Ga. L. Rev. 789 (1985).
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Garcia: Federalism’s Principles Forgotten,” Intergovernmental Persp., Spring/Summer 1985, at 12.

“James Madison and the Constitution,” Wilson Q., Summer 1985, at 80.

“Why Celebrate the Constitution Today?,” 17 Prologue 155 (1985); reprinted in Robert S. Peck & Ralph S. Pollock, eds., The Blessings of Liberty: Bicentennial Lectures at the National Archives 1 (American Bar Association, 1986).

“The Constitution and Free Expression,” Nat’l F., Fall 1984, at 41.

“‘A Frequent Recurrence to Fundamental Principles’: The Courts and Constitutional Change,” This Const., Summer 1984, at 11.

“The Roots of American Constitutional Principles,” 60 U. Va. Inst. Gov’t News Letter 25 (1984).

“The Press in Court,” Wilson Q., Special Issue 1982, at 86.

“The Sexes and the Law,” Wilson Q., Winter 1982, at 81.

“The States and the Supreme Court,” 31 Cath. U. L. Rev. 375 (1982).
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“A Litigation Society?,” Wilson Q., Summer 1981, at 98.

“The Burger Court: A Judicial Nonet Plays the Enigma Variations,” Law & Contemp. Probs., Summer 1980, at 7.
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“The Road from Brown,” Wilson Q., Spring 1979, at 96.

“The Supreme Court and Modern Lifestyles,” Wilson Q., Spring 1978, at 55.

“From Warren to Burger: Activism and Restraint,” Wilson Q., Spring 1977, at 109.

“State Courts and Constitutional Rights in the Day of the Burger Court,” 62 Va. L. Rev. 873 (1976).
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“Constitutional Revision: Virginia and the Nation,” 9 U. Rich. L. Rev. 1 (1974).

“State Aid for Virginia’s Private Colleges?” (with W. H. McFarlane and Jay L. Chronister), 2J.L. & Educ. 593 (1973).
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“Mr. Justice Powell,” Commonwealth, Mar. 1972, at 21.

“Mr. Justice Powell and the Emerging Nixon Majority,” 70 Mich. L. Rev. 445 (1972).
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“State Constitutions and the Environment,” 58 Va. L. Rev. 193 (1972).
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“Education and Virginia’s New Constitution,” Va. J. Educ., May 1971, at 10.

“Goodbye Mr. Chips: Student Participation in Law School Decision-Making,” 56 Va. L. Rev.895 (1970).
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“So That it May Be Handed on with Periodic Repairs . . .; The Need for Constitutional Reform,” Commonwealth, Oct. 1970, at 23.

“Constitutional Revision – Virginia’s Approach,” 72 W. Va. L. Rev. 41 (1969-70).
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“For the Common Benefit: Constitutional History in Virginia as a Casebook for the Modern Constitution-Maker,” 54 Va. L. Rev. 816 (1968).
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“The Warren Court: Myth and Reality,” Am. Oxonian, Jan. 1968, at 7.

“Mr. Justice Black: The Negro Protest Movement and the Rule of Law,” 53 Va. L. Rev.1030 (1967).
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“On Writing about the Supreme Court,” 22 Reading Guide 49 (1967).

“Magna Carta Celebrates Its 750th Year,” 51 A.B.A. J. 529 (1965).

Other Articles and Essays:

Shorter articles, essays, book reviews, etc., have appeared in, among others, the following:

US News and World Report
National Law Journal
American Bar Association Journal
Washington Post
Los Angeles Times
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Richmond News Leader
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
Los Angeles Daily Law Journal
Leonard W. Levy & Kenneth L. Karst, eds., Encyclopedia of the American Constitution
Eric Foner & John A. Garraty, eds., Reader’s Companion to American History

Current Courses

All Courses

Comparative Constitutional Law
Constitutionalism: History and Jurisprudence
Supreme Court from Warren to Rehnquist (seminar)
Supreme Court Justices and the Art of Judging (seminar)




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