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Our History: Former Faculty: Robinson, Glen O. (1976-2008)

Tenured faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law through its history.

Glen O. Robinson, 1976-2008

Glen O. Robinson

Glen O. Robinson received his law degree in 1961 from Stanford and practiced law with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. until 1967, when he began teaching at the University of Minnesota.  In 1974, Robinson left Minnesota to become a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.  At the end of his term in 1976, he joined the faculty at Virginia Law and became a member of the University’s Center for Advanced Studies. His courses included Administrative Law and Torts. In 1979, Robinson took a leave of absence from the Law School to serve as Ambassador and U.S. Representative to the World Administrative Radio Conference in Geneva, leading a team of over 100 lawyers and engineers negotiating an international spectrum treaty for the International Telecommunication Union of the United Nations.

Robinson has equated his ongoing fascination with the study of law to a puzzle:   “Essentially, I like the puzzle when somebody asks why is the law like this, or why isn’t it like that?  The idea is to answer the puzzle, but I also like it sometimes when you can’t.  For me, it’s the puzzle, more often than the answer, which engages my attention.” Professor Daniel Ortiz described him, “Glen is one of those scholars with a certain quirky intelligence who is interested in the satisfaction that comes from figuring something out, having an interesting idea, seeing where something leads you.”



Communications for Tomorrow: Policy Perspectives for the 1980s (editor) (Praeger, 1978).

The Administrative Process (with Ernest Gellhorn and Harold H. Bruff) (West, 2d ed. 1980; 3d ed. 1986; 4th ed. 1993).

American Bureaucracy: Public Choice and Public Law (University of Michigan Press, 1991).

Communications Regulation (with Thomas B. Nachbar) (Thomson/West, 2008).

Articles and Book Chapters

Communications for the Future: An Overview of the Policy Agenda, in Communications for Tomorrow: Policy Perspectives for the 1980s, at 467-500 (Glen O. Robinson ed., Praeger, 1978).

The Federal Communications Commission: An Essay on Regulatory Watchdogs, 64 Va. L. Rev. 169-262 (1978); abridged version printed in Communications for Tomorrow: Policy Perspectives for the 1980s, at 353-400 (Glen O. Robinson ed., Praeger, 1978).

The Judicial Role, in Communications for Tomorrow: Policy Perspectives for the 1980s, at 415-444 (Glen O. Robinson ed., Praeger, 1978).

Regulating International Airwaves: The 1979 WARC, 21 Va. J. Int’l L. 1-54 (1980); reprinted in WARC-79: Radio Regulations and Final Protocol 256-309 (Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, May 18, 1982).

Rulemaking “Due Process”: An Inconclusive Dialogue (with Ernest Gellhorn), 48 U. Chi. L. Rev. 201-262 (1981).

Multiple Causation in Tort Law: Reflections on the DES Cases, 68 Va. L. Rev. 713-769 (1982).

A Theory of Legislative Delegation (with Peter H. Aranson and Ernest Gellhorn), 68 Cornell L. Rev. 1-67 (1982).

Access to Government Information: The American Experience, 14 Fed. L. Rev. 35-61 (1983).

The Role of Economic Analysis in Legal Education (with Ernest Gellhorn), 33 J. Legal Educ. 247-273 (1983).

The Sherman Act as a Home Rule Charter: Community Communications Co. v. City of Boulder, 2 Sup. Ct. Econ. Rev. 131-164 (1983).

Cable Television and the First Amendment, Comm. & L., Oct. 1984, at 47-61.

The FCC in the Year 2000, 37 Fed. Comm. L.J. 155-170 (1985).

Probabilistic Causation and Compensation for Tortious Risk, 14 J. Legal Stud. 779-798 (1985).

The Medical Malpractice Crisis of the 1970’s: A Retrospective, Law & Contemp. Probs, Spring 1986, at 5-35.

Rethinking the Allocation of Medical Malpractice Risks Between Patients and Providers, Law & Contemp. Probs, Spring 1986, at 173-199.

Perspectives on Medical Malpractice and Tort Law Reform, in Medical Malpractice – Tort Reform 29-52 (James E. Hamner, III & B.R. Jennings eds., University of Tennessee, Memphis, 1987).

Independent Agencies: Form and Substance in Executive Prerogative, 1988 Duke L.J. 238-251.

Public Choice Speculations on the Item Veto, 74 Va. L. Rev. 403-422 (1988).

Commentary on “Administrative Arrangements and the Political Control of Agencies”: Political Uses of Structure and Process, 75 Va. L. Rev. 483-498 (1989).

Evolving Conceptions of “Property” and “Liberty” in Due Process Jurisprudence, in Liberty, Property, and Government: Constitutional Interpretation Before the New Deal 63-120 (Ellen Frankel Paul & Howard Dickman eds., State University of New York Press, 1989).

The Federal Communications Act: An Essay on Origins and Regulatory Purpose, in A Legislative History of the Communications Act of 1934, at 3-24 (Max D. Paglin ed., Oxford University Press, 1989).

Aggregative Valuation of Mass Tort Claims (with Kenneth S. Abraham), Law & Contemp. Probs, Autumn 1990, at 137-157.

Explaining Contingent Rights: The Puzzle of “Obsolete” Covenants, 91 Colum. L. Rev. 546-580 (1991).

Regulatory and Institutional Change, in After the Breakup: Assessing the New Post-AT&T Divestiture Era 79-91 (Barry G. Cole ed., Columbia University Press, 1991).

Risk, Causation, and Harm, in Liability and Responsibility: Essays in Law and Morals 317-347 (R.G. Frey & Christopher W. Morris eds., Cambridge University Press, 1991).

Collective Justice in Tort Law (with Kenneth S. Abraham), 78 Va. L. Rev. 1481-1519 (1992).

Explaining Vertical Agreements: The Colgate Puzzle and Antitrust Method, 80 Va. L. Rev. 577-623 (1994).

The “New” Communications Act: A Second Opinion, 29 Conn L. Rev. 289-329 (1996).

Communities, 83 Va. L. Rev. 269-348 (1997).

The New Video Competition: Dances with Regulators, 97 Colum. L. Rev. 1016-1047 (1997).

The Electronic First Amendment: An Essay for the New Age, 47 Duke L.J. 899-970 (1998).

Spectrum Property Law 101, 41 J. L. & Econ. 609-625 (1998).

Hearings Required by Procedural Due Process, in A Guide to Federal Agency Adjudication 9-28 (Michael Asimow ed., American Bar Association, 2002).

On Refusing to Deal with Rivals, 87 Cornell L. Rev. 1177-1232 (2002); excerpts reprinted in 10 Va. J. 51-55 (2007).

The Right to a Hearing under the APA, in A Guide to Federal Agency Adjudication 29-35 (Michael Asimow ed., American Bar Association, 2002).

Personal Property Servitudes, 71 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1449-1523 (2004); excerpts reprinted in 10 Va. J. 48-51 (2007).

Designing Competition Policy for Telecommunications (with Dennis L. Weisman), 7 Rev. Network Econ. 509-546 (2008).

Regulating Communications: Stories from the First Hundred Years, 13 Green Bag 2d 303-317 (2010).

Eliminating Racial Preferences in College Admissions (with Dennis L. Weisman), Economist’s Voice, June 2012.


Joseph M. Livermore – A Tribute, 18 Ariz L. Rev. 495-497 (1976).

Statement, in Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1977 (Executive Office of the President) 102-121 (Committee on Government Operations, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, Sept. 8, 1977).

Statement, in Television Broadcast Policies 54-64 (Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate, Hearing, May 9, 1977).

Statement, in International Space Activities, 1979, at 63-76 (Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, Sept. 6, 1979).

Statement, in UNESCO and Freedom of Information 14-23 (Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, July 19, 1979).

Statement, in 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference – Oversight 1-18 (Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, Apr. 4, 1979).

Statements, in The World Administrative Radio Conference and International Communications Policy 1-27, 76-90, 107-121 (Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearings, June 14, 1979, and July 31, 1980).

International Telecommunications: The 1979 World Radio Conference and the Virtues of Thinking Small, Va. L. Sch. Rep., Winter 1981, at 12-16.

Statement, in 2 Effectiveness of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, at 167-177 (Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, Feb. 4, 1982).

Chadha and the Demise of the Legislative Veto, Va. L. Wkly., Sept. 30, 1983, at 1, 3.

Stalking the Washington Bureaucrat (reviewing Kaufman, The Administrative Behavior of Federal Bureau Chiefs), 68 Cornell L. Rev. 269-280 (1983).

Another Look at Pacifica, N.Y. L.J., May 11, 1984, at 5.

Review of Pool, Technologies of Freedom, 1 Const. Comment. 350-369 (1984).

Statement, in International Satellite Issues 862-876 (Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, July 26, 1984).

The Fairness Doctrine and Product Advertising, in Beer and Wine Advertising: Impact of Electronic Media 216-230 (Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, May 21, 1985).

Medical Malpractice: plus ca Change . . , Va. L. Sch. Rep., Summer 1985, at 18-20.

Statement, in FCC Network Acquisition Approval Act of 1985, at 64-69 (Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate, Hearing, July 18, 1985).

The Titanic Remembered: AT&T and the Changing World of Telecommunications (reviewing Faulhaber, Telecommunications in Turmoil), 5 Yale J. on Reg. 517-545 (1988).

Antitrust: Will it Change the Lives of Telecommunications Executives? (panelist), 4 Rich. J. L. & Tech. 3 (Fall 1997).

Reed Hundt, Revolutionary Manqué (reviewing Hundt, You Say You Want a Revolution), 4 Green Bag 2d 197-205 (2001).