Charles Barzun

  • Professor of Law
  • Director, Program on Legal and Constitutional History

Charles Barzun joined the faculty in 2008. His areas of interest include constitutional law, torts, evidence and the history of legal thought. Barzun also serves as faculty advisor for the Dual-Degree (J.D./M.A.) Program in Legal History.

After receiving his A.B. in government from Harvard in 1997, Barzun worked in corporate and product development at CNET Networks, an Internet media company in San Francisco. In 2005, he received a J.D./M.A. degree from Virginia. During law school, he served as notes development editor of the Virginia Law Review and won the Best Note Award for his student note, "Common Sense and Legal Science." After graduating, he clerked for Judge Robert D. Sack of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to joining the faculty, Charles was a Climenko Fellow and lecturer at Harvard Law School.


  • J.D.
    University of Virginia School of Law
  • M.A.
    University of Virginia
  • A.B.
    Harvard University


Works in Progress

Book Chapters

Legal Realism and Natural Law (with Dan Priel), in Law in Theory and History: New Essays on a Neglected Dialogue, Hart, 167–187 (2016).
Chicago v. Sturges, 222 U.S. 313 (1913), in Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States, Macmillan Reference USA, 293–294 (2008).

Articles & Reviews

Alzheimer’s, Advance Directives, and Interpretive Authority, 48 Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 50–59 (2023).
Pragmatism, Logic and Law. By Kellogg, Frederick. (reviewing Frederick Kellogg, Pragmatism, Logic and Law) 55 Law and Society Review 681–683 (2021).
Conflict Avoidance in Constitutional Law (with Michael D. Gilbert), 107 Virginia Law Review 1–56 (2021).
The Common Law and Critical Theory, 92 University of Colorado Law Review 1221–1236 (2021).
The Tale of Two Harts; A Schlegelian Dialectic, 69 Buffalo Law Review 9–42 (2021).
Is a Progressive Reading of the Constitution Possible? (reviewing Erwin Chemerinsky, We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century) The New Rambler (2019).
The Genetic Fallacy and a Living Constitution, 34 Constitutional Commentary 101–131 (2019).
Justice Souter’s Common Law, 104 Virginia Law Review 655–726 (2018).
Three Forms of Legal Pragmatism, 95 Washington University Law Review 1003–1034 (2018).
Jerome Frank, Lon Fuller, and a Romantic Pragmatism, 29 Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 129–164 (2017).
The Positive U-Turn, 69 Stanford Law Review 1323–1388 (2017).
Causation, Legal History, and Legal Doctrine, 64 Buffalo Law Review 82–99 (2016).
Working for the Weekend: A Response to Kessler & Pozen, 83 University of Chicago Law Review 225–241 (2016).
Jurisprudence and (Its) History (with Dan Priel), 101 Virginia Law Review 849–867 (2015).
Metaphysical Quietism and Functional Explanation in the Law, 34 Law & Philosophy 89–109 (2015).
Getting Substantive: A Response to Posner and Vermeule, 80 University of Chicago Law Review 267–290 (2013).
Impeaching Precedent, 80 University of Chicago Law Review 1625–1681 (2013).
The Forgotten Foundations of Hart and Sachs, 99 Virginia Law Review 1–61 (2013).
Jerome Frank and the Modern Mind, 58 Buffalo Law Review 1127–1174 (2010).
Rules of Weight, 83 Notre Dame Law Review 1957–2018 (2008).
Politics or Principle? Zechariah Chafee and the Social Interest in Free Speech, 2007 Brigham Young University Law Review 259–326 (2007).
Common Sense and Legal Science, 90 Virginia Law Review 1051–1092 (2004).

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

Dobbs and the Relevance of Experience, Balkinization (July 1, 2022).
The Constitution and Genealogy, Balkinization (July 6, 2020).
An Unoriginal Joke, Part I, Balkinization (May 30, 2020).
The Oath Argument, Balkinization (May 19, 2020).
A Letter to My Grandfather, Chronicle of Higher Education B7-B9 (May 17, 2013).

Current Courses

All Courses

Seminar in Ethical Values


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