Bertrall Ross

  • Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law
  • Director, Karsh Center for Law and Democracy

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

Book Chapters

Minor v. Happersett, in Encyclopedia of the United States Constitution, Facts on File (2009).
Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, in Encyclopedia of the United States Constitution, Facts on File (2009).
United Jewish Organization v. Carey, in Encyclopedia of the United States Constitution, Facts on File (2009).
Regulations Confronting Trade in Services, in Regionalism, Multilateralism, and Economic Integration: The Recent Experience, United Nations Publications, 253–274 (2005).

Articles & Reviews

Inequality, Anti-Republicanism, and Our Unique Second Amendment, 135 Harvard Law Review Forum 491 (2022).
Voter Data, Democratic Inequality, and the Risk of Political Violence (with Douglas Spencer), 107 Cornell Law Review 1011 (2022).
Partisan Gerrymandering as a Threat to Multiracial Democracy, 50 Southwestern Law Review 509–525 (2022).
Administrative Constitutionalism as Popular Constitutionalism, 167 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1783–1822 (2019).
Passive Voter Suppression: Campaign Mobilization and the Effective Disfranchisement of the Poor (with Douglas M. Spencer), 114 Northwestern University Law Review 633–704 (2019).
A Constitutional Path to Fair Representation for the Poor, 66 University of Kansas Law Review 921–950 (2018).
Addressing Inequality in the Age of Citizens United, 93 New York University Law Review 1120–1200 (2018).
Administering Suspect Classes, 66 Duke Law Journal 1807–1846 (2017).
The 2016 Presidential Election: The Next Four Years and Beyond (with Dahlia Lithwick & Joan Williams), 44 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 255–275 (2017).
Measuring Political Power: Suspect Class Determinations and the Poor (with Su Li), 104 California Law Review 323–390 (2016).
Embracing Administrative Constitutionalism, 95 Boston University Law Review 519–586 (2015).
Paths of Resistance to Our Imperial First Amendment (reviewing Robert C. Post, Citizens Divided: Campaign Finance Reform and the Constitution) 113 Michigan Law Review 917–942 (2015).
Reconsidering Statutory Interpretive Divergence between Elected and Appointed Judges, 80 University of Chicago Law Review Dialogue 53–80 (2013).
Against Constitutional Mainstreaming, 78 University of Chicago Law Review 1203–1262 (2011).
Minimum Responsiveness and the Political Exclusion of the Poor (with Terry Smith), 72 Law and Contemporary Problems 197–222 (2009).
Not a Mere Omission: Reconciling the Clear Statement Rule and the Voting Rights Act , 7 Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law 159–202 (2006).
Reconciling the Booker Conflict: A Substantive Sixth Amendment in a Real Offense Sentencing System, 4 Cardozo Public Law, Policy, and Ethics Journal 725–778 (2006).

Reports & Datasets

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

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

Current Courses

All Courses

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


The New Voter Suppression

Featured Scholarship