Bertrall Ross

  • Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law

Bertrall Ross joined the law faculty in 2021. He teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, constitutional theory, election law, administrative law and statutory interpretation. 

Ross’ research is driven by a concern about democratic responsiveness and accountability, as well as the inclusion of marginalized communities in administrative and political processes. His past scholarship has been published in several books and journals, including the Columbia Law Review, New York University Law Review and the University of Chicago Law Review.  Two of his articles were selected by the Yale/Harvard/Stanford Junior Faculty Forum.  

Prior to joining the Virginia faculty, Ross taught at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he received the Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence. He has also been awarded the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin, the Princeton University Law and Public Affairs Fellowship, the Columbia Law School Kellis Parker Academic Fellowship and the Marshall Scholarship. Ross is currently serving on the Administrative Conference of the United States and the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court. 

Ross earned his undergraduate degree in international affairs and history from the University of Colorado, Boulder; his graduate degrees from the London School of Economics and Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs; and his law degree from Yale Law School. After law school, he clerked for Judge Dorothy Nelson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Myron Thompson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. 


  • J.D.
    Yale Law School
  • M.P.A.
    Princeton University School of Public and Internal Affairs
  • M.Sc.
    London School of Economics
  • B.A.
    University of Colorado Boulder

“Voter Data, Democratic Inequality, and the Risk of Political Violence” (with Douglas Spencer), 107 Cornell L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2021-22).

“Challenging the Crown: Checks, Balances, and the Principle of Legislative Independence,” 73 Ala. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2021-22).

“Guns and the Tyranny of American Republicanism,” Brennan Center for Justice (forthcoming 2021).

“Partisan Gerrymandering as a Threat to Multiracial Democracy,” 50 Sw. U. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2021).

“Passive Voter Suppression: Campaign Mobilization and the Effective Disfranchisement of the Poor” (with Douglas Spencer), 114 Nw. U. L. Rev. 633 (2019).

“Administrative Constitutionalism as Popular Constitutionalism
,” 168 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1783 (2019).

“Addressing Inequality in the Age of Citizens United,” 93 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1120 (2018).

“Partisan Gerrymandering, the First Amendment, and the Political Outsider
,” 118 Colum. L. Rev. 2187 (2018).

“A Constitutional Path to Fair Representation for the Poor,” 66 Kansas L. Rev. 92 (2018).

“Administering Suspect Classes
,” 66 Duke L.J. 1807 (2017).

“Measuring Political Power: Suspect Class Determinations and the Poor” (with Su Li), 104 Cal. L. Rev. 323 (2016). 

“Embracing Administrative Constitutionalism,” 95 B.U. L. Rev. 519 (2015).

“Paths of Resistance to Our Imperial First Amendment” (book review of Robert Post, Citizens Divided: Campaign Finance Reform and the Constitution) 113 Mich. L. Rev. 917 (2015). 

“The State as Witness: Credibility and the Democratic Process,” 89 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 2027 (2017). (selected for the Yale-Harvard-Stanford Junior Faculty Forum – 2014).

“Denying Deference: Civil Rights and Judicial Resistance to Administrative Constitutionalism,”2014 U. Chi. Legal F. 223

“Democracy and Renewed Distrust: Equal Protection and the Evolving Judicial Conception of Politics,” 101 Cal. L. Rev. 1565 (2013).

“Reconsidering Statutory Interpretive Divergence Between Elected and Appointed Judges,” 80 U. Chi. L. Rev. Dialogues 53 (2013).

“The Representative Equality Principle: Disaggregating the Equal Protection Intent Standard,” 81 Fordham L. Rev. 101 (2012). (selected for the Yale-Harvard-Stanford Junior Faculty Forum – 2012)

“The Costs and Elusive Gains of Creating Complementarities Between Party and Popular Democracy,” 3 Cal. L. Rev. Circuit 146 (2012).

“Against Constitutional Mainstreaming,” 78 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1203 (2011).

“Minimum Responsiveness and the Political Exclusion of the Poor” (with Terry Smith), 72 L. & Contemp. Probs. 197 (2009).

“Reconciling the Booker Conflict: A Substantive Sixth Amendment in a Real Offense Sentencing System,” 4 Cardozo Pub. L. Pol’y & Ethics J. 725 (2006).

Current Courses

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All Courses

Constitutional Law
Election Law
Constitutional Theory
Race, Law, and Democracy