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Our History: Former Faculty: BeVier, Lillian (1973-2010)

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

Lillian BeVier, 1973-2010

Lillian BeVier

Born in Washington, D.C., Lillian BeVier earned a B.A. from Smith College in 1961 and a J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she was one of only five women in her graduating class in 1965. While at Stanford, she served on the managing board of the Stanford Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. She practiced law with Spaeth, Blase, Valentine & Klein in Palo Alto, California before teaching for three years at Santa Clara University School of Law. In 1973, BeVier was invited to spend a year as a visiting professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, where she later joined the permanent faculty, becoming the first woman to receive tenure. She gained a strong reputation as a First Amendment scholar and especially as an expert on the application of the First Amendment to campaign finance law. In 1991, she was nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit by President George H. W. Bush, but her nomination was held up by the Senate Judiciary Committee and she remained at the University of Virginia until her retirement in 2010.

Upon Professor BeVier’s retirement, Law School Dean Paul Mahoney called her one of the school’s “legendary teachers,” citing “the extraordinary affection that her students feel for her.” In addition to constitutional law, she taught courses on intellectual property, real property, and torts; in 2006, the Alumni Association recognized her dedication to teaching with its Outstanding Professor Award. BeVier has also been noted for her support of student groups and her record of public service. A member of the national Board of Visitors of the Federalist Society, she has chaired the Boards of Trustees of St. Anne’s-Belfield School and of the Martha Jefferson Hospital. In 2003, BeVier was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to a seat on the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation, a post that she maintained until 2009.



The First Amendment and Political Speech: an Inquiry into the Substance and Limits of Principle, 30 Stan. L. Rev. 299-358 (1978).

An Informed Public, an Informing Press: The Search for a Constitutional Principle, 68 Cal. L. Rev. 482-517 (1980).

Justice Powell and the First Amendment’s “Societal Function”: A Preliminary Analysis, 68 Va. L. Rev. 177-201 (1982).

Like Mackerel in the Moonlight: Some Reflections on Richmond Newspapers, 10 Hofstra L. Rev. 311-340 (1982).

As Law Professor: The Practically Perfect Job, in Women Lawyers: Perspectives on Success 213-228 (Emily Couric, ed.) (Law & Business, 1984); excerpts reprinted in Va. L. Sch. Rep., Summer 1984, at 7-10.

Money and Politics: A Perspective on the First Amendment and Campaign Finance Reform, 73 Cal. L. Rev. 1045-1090 (1985).

The Free Exercise Clause: A View from the Public Forum, 27 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 963-974 (1985-86).

Hands off the Political Process, 10 Harv J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 11-14 (1987).

A Comment on Professor Wolfson’s “The First Amendment and the SEC,”  20 Conn. L. Rev. 325-333 (1988).

What Privacy Is Not, 12 Harv. J. L & Pub. Pol’y 99-103 (1989).

Reconsidering Inducement, 76 Va. L. Rev. 877-936 (1990).

Competitor Suits for False Advertising under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act: a Puzzle in the Law of Deception, 78 Va. L. Rev. 1-48 (1992).

Rehabilitating Public Forum Doctrine: In Defense of Categories, 1993 Sup. Ct. Rev. 79-122.

Some Anxious Thoughts about Utopian Dreams: A Reply to Professor Smolla, 1993 U. Chi. Legal F. 187-195.

Campaign Finance Reform: Specious Arguments, Intractable Dilemmas, 94 Colum. L. Rev. 1258-1280 (1994).

Judicial Restraint: An Argument from Institutional Design, 17 Harv. J. L & Pub. Pol’y 7-12 (1994).

Should the Press Be Liable?: Quality Control in the Market for Political Information, Am. Enterprise, May-June 1994, at 38-45.

Information about Individuals in the Hands of Government: Some Reflections on Mechanisms for Privacy Protection, 4 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 455-506 (1995).

Thoughts from a “Real” Woman, 18 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 457-464 (1995).

The Integrity and Impersonality of Originalism, 19 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 283-291 (1996).

Give and Take: Public Use as Due Compensation in Pruneyard, 64 U. Chi. L. Rev. 71-82 (1997).

Law, Economics, and the Power of the State, 21 Harv. J. L & Pub. Pol’y 5-10 (1997).

The Moment and the Millennium: A Question of Time, or Law?, 66 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1112-1118 (1998).

Religion in Congress and the Courts: Issues of Institutional Competence, 22 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 59-65 (1998).

The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994: A Surprising Sequel to the Break Up of AT&T, 51 Stan. L. Rev. 1049-1125 (1999).

The Issue of Issue Advocacy: An Economic, Political, and Constitutional Analysis, 85 Va. L. Rev. 1761-1792 (1999).

Where Is the Center of Democracy?: A Reply to Professor Neuborne, 93 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1075-1082 (1999).

Mandatory Disclosure, “Sham Issue Advocacy,” and Buckley v. Valeo: A Response to Professor Hazen, 48 UCLA L. Rev. 285-304 (2000).

Campaign Finance Regulation: Less, Please, 34 Ariz. St. L.J. 1115-1121 (2002).

A Commentary on Public Funds or Publicly Funded Benefits and the Regulation of Judicial Campaigns, 35 Ind. L. Rev. 845-849 (2002).

Intersection and Divergence: Some Reflections on the Warren Court, Civil Rights, and the First Amendment, 59 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1075-1093 (2002).

The Invisible Hand of the Marketplace of Ideas, in Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era 232-255 (Lee C. Bollinger & Geoffrey C. Stone eds., University of Chicago Press, 2002).

United States v. American Library Association: Whither First Amendment Doctrine, 2003 Sup. Ct. Rev. 163-195.

Controlling Communications That Teach or Demonstrate Violence: “The Movie Made Them Do It,” 32 J.L. Med. & Ethics 47-54 (2004).

McConnell v. FEC: Not Senator Buckley’s First Amendment, 3 Election L.J. 127-145 (2004).

The First Amendment on the Tracks: Should Justice Breyer Be at the Switch?, 89 Minn. L. Rev. 1280-1317 (2005).

Full of Surprises – and More to Come: Randall v Sorrell, the First Amendment, and Campaign Finance Regulation, 2006 Sup. Ct. Rev. 173-200.

The Journalist’s Privilege – A Skeptic’s View, 32 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 467-484 (2006).

First Amendment Basics Redux: Buckley v. Valeo to FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, 2006-2007 Cato Sup. Ct. Rev. 77-113.

Can Freedom of Speech Bear the Twenty-First Century’s Weight?, 36 Pepp. L. Rev. 415-426 (2009).

The State Action Principle and Its Critics (with John Harrison), 96 Va. L. Rev. 1767-1835 (2010).


Review of Donahue, Kauper & Martin, Cases and Materials on Property, 73 Mich. L. Rev. 620-629 (1975).

No New Ground for Press Freedom, Va. L. Wkly., Oct 1, 1976, at 1, 3-4.

Judicial Review of Local Land Use Decisions in Virginia: A Report to the Joint Land Use Task Force of the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League (with Denis J. Brion) (University of Virginia Institute of Government, 1981).

Testimony, in 3 Nomination of Robert H. Bork to Be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 2927-2934 (Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing, Sept. 28, 1987).

Liberty Fund, Inc. Symposium on the First Amendment and Securities Regulation (with others), 20 Conn. L. Rev. 383-477 (1988).

On the Enduring Dilemma of Judicial Review, 39 Emory L.J. 1229-1244 (1990) (reviewing Nagel, Constitutional Cultures).

The Goldwater Institute and the Federalist Society: Federalism and Judicial Mandates: VII: Panel Discussion: Judicial Engineering of Social Policy – Costs and Benefits (with others), 28 Ariz. St. L.J. 167-194 (1996).

Statement, in The Propriety of the Taxpayer-Funded White House Data Base 121-126 (Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, Sept. 10, 1996).

Testimony, in Campaign Finance Reform Proposals of 1996, at 363-370 (Committee on Rules and Administration, U.S. Senate, Hearing, May 8, 1996).

Campaign Finance “Reform” Proposals: A First Amendment Analysis (Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 282, 1997); reprinted in Investigation of Illegal or Improper Activities in Connection with the 1996 Federal Election Campaign – Part VIII, at 352-386 (Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, Hearing, Sept. 24, 1997); and in The Constitution and Campaign Reform 47-82 (Committee on Rules and Administration, U.S. Senate, Hearing, Mar. 22, 2000).

Panel Discussion: Revolutionizing Campaign Finance – An Appraisal of Proposed Reforms (with others), 13 J.L. & Pol. 163-198 (1997).

Is Free TV for Federal Candidates Constitutional? (AEI Press, 1998).

The New – Unimproved – Federalist Papers (reviewing Brinkley et al., The New Federalist Papers), 1 Green Bag 2d 321-326 (1998).

Statement, in The Constitution and Campaign Reform 41-46 (Committee on Rules and Administration, U.S. Senate, Hearing, Mar. 22, 2000).

Statement, in Campaign Finance Reform: Proposals Impacting Broadcasters, Cable Operators and Satellite Providers 24-34 (Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, June 20, 2001).

What Ails Us? (reviewing Ackerman & Ayres, Voting with Dollars), 112 Yale L.J. 1135-1178 (2003).

What Is the “Free Press”? (panelist), 11 Chap. L. Rev. 243-275 (2008).

For Corporations, Constitutional Issues: A Guest Column, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Nov. 14, 2009.

Freedom of Speech vs. Anti-Discrimination Laws (panel moderator), 31 N.C. Cent. L. Rev. 207-238 (2009).

Citizens United Vindicates Fundamental First Amendment Principles, UVA Law., Spring 2012, at 33-34.