Barbara E. Armacost

  • Professor of Law

In the fall of 1992, Barbara Armacost returned to the Law School from which she graduated to become a member of the faculty. She teaches civil rights litigation, criminal investigation, torts and First Amendment (religion clauses).

Armacost became a lawyer after several years in the nursing profession. During those years, she served as a head nurse in the cardiovascular unit at the University of Virginia Hospital and worked as a volunteer in a mission hospital in La Pointe, Haiti. In 1984 she earned a master's degree in theological studies from Regent College at the University of British Columbia. Her work earned her the Master of Theological Studies Proficiency Award and the Ethics Award for Academic Excellence.

Armacost subsequently worked as a paralegal before entering the Law School in 1986. While earning her J.D., she was honored here with the Thomas Marshall Miller Prize, Mary Claiborne and Roy H. Ritter Prize and election to the Order of the Coif. She also served as notes editor of the Virginia Law Review. After graduation, she clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The following two years she served as attorney adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Scholarship Profile: Appreciating the Impacts and Limits of Law (Virginia Journal 2005)


  • J.D.
    University of Virginia School of Law
  • M.T.S.
    Regent College of the University of British Columbia
  • B.S.
    University of Virginia

"Celebrating Robert Cochran and the Future of 'Embodied' Christian Legal Scholarship," 47 Pepp. L. Rev. 397 (2020).

"Police Shootings: Is Accountability the Enemy of Prevention?," 80 Ohio St. L. Rev. 907 (2019).

"'Sanctuary' Laws: The New Immigration Federalism," 2016 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1197 (2017).
SSRN | Article | HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Organizational Reasons Police Departments Don't Change," Harv. Bus. Rev. (2016). 

“Crying Out for Justice: Civil Law and the Prophets” (with Peter Enns), in Robert F. Cochran Jr. & David VanDrunen, eds., Law and the Bible: Justice, Mercy and Legal Institutions 121 (IVP Academic, 2013).

"Arizona v. Gant: Does it Matter?," 2009 Sup. Ct.. Rev. 275 (2010).

"Interrogation After 9/11: The Law on the Books and the Law on the Ground" (unpublished manuscript).

"Organizational Culture and Police Misconduct," 72 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 453 (2004).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Race and Reputation: The Real Legacy of Paul v. Davis," 85 Va. L. Rev. 569 (1999).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Qualified Immunity: Ignorance Excused," 51 Vand. L. Rev. 583 (1998).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Constitutional Remedies and the Morality of Governmental Action: A Response to Garvey," in Constitutional Law Symposium—The Role of Freedoms, 47 Drake L. Rev. 19 (1998).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Affirmative Duties, Systemic Harms, and the Due Process Clause," 94 Mich. L. Rev. 982 (1996).
HeinOnline (PDF)

Current Courses

All Courses

Advanced Issues in Criminal Justice
Civil Rights Litigation
Criminal Investigation
Readings in Criminal Justice
Readings in the Religion Clauses

Overview of the 1L Curriculum at UVA Law

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