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

Works in Progress

Book Chapters

Crying Out for Justice: Civil Law and the Prophets (with Peter Enns), in Law and the Bible: Justice, Mercy and Legal Institutions, InterVarsity Press Academic, 121–150 (2013).

Articles & Reviews

Police Shootings: Is Accountability the Enemy of Prevention, 80 Ohio State Law Journal 907–986 (2019).
"Sanctuary" Laws: The New Immigration Federalism, 2016 Michigan State Law Review 1197–1265 (2016).
Restoring Souls, 5 Journal of Christian Legal Thought 9–13 (2015).
Arizona v. Gant: Does It Matter?, 2009 Supreme Court Review 275–317 (2010).
Organizational Culture and Police Misconduct, 72 George Washington Law Review 453–546 (2004).
Race and Reputation: The Real Legacy of Paul v. Davis, 85 Virginia Law Review 569–629 (1999).
Qualified Immunity: Ignorance Excused, 51 Vanderbilt Law Review 583–680 (1998).
Affirmative Duties, Systemic Harms, and the Due Process Clause, 94 Michigan Law Review 982–1040 (1996).

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

The Organizational Reasons Police Departments Don’t Change, Harvard Business Review (August 19, 2016).
The Importance of Process at U.Va., Richmond Times-Dispatch (July 1, 2012).

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

Featured Scholarship