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Our History: Former Faculty: Ryan, James E. (1998-2013)

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

James E. Ryan, 1998-2013

Ryan, J.E.

James E. Ryan, a leading scholar of law and education and an advocate for improving the quality and equitability of the U.S. education system, served on the University of Virginia faculty for fifteen years. Ryan earned a B.A from Yale University and a J.D. from U.Va., where he received the Alumni Award for Academic Excellence, the Traynor Award, and the Thomas Marshal Miller Prize. After graduating from U.Va. in 1992, he clerked for the Hon. J. Clifford Wallace, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist. Ryan then served for one year as a legal assistant at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague, followed by a two-year Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest and Constitutional Law. He joined the faculty of the U.Va. School of Law in 1998.

At Virginia, Ryan taught courses in law and education, constitutional law, land use law, torts, and local government law, and was an instructor in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. He served as the William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law, the F. Palmer Weber Research Professor of Civil Liberties and Human Rights, and Academic Associate Dean. He founded and directed the Program in Law and Public Service. His book Five Miles Away, A World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in America (Oxford University Press, 2010) examined the problem of enduring disparities of opportunity in the U.S. education system. He also co-authored the 2011 textbook Educational Policy and the Law. He received Virginia’s All-University Teaching Award in 2010, and the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Council of Higher Education for Virginia in 2011. Ryan was appointed in 2011 to serve on the Equity and Excellence Commission for the U.S. Department of Education. He became the Dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in 2013. In September 2017, he was named as the ninth president of the University of Virginia, effective Oct. 1, 2018.

Publications

Books

Five Miles Away, A World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America (Oxford University Press, 2010). 

Book Chapters

"The Real Lessons of School Desegregation," in From Schoolhouse To Courthouse: The Judiciary’s Role in American Education (Brookings Press, 2009).

"A Legal Perspective on Teacher Compensation Reform," in Performance Incentives: Their Growing Impact on American K-12 Education (Brookings Press, 2009)

"Federalism as Libertarian Fantasy," in Doug Kendall, ed., Redefining Federalism,  31 (Environmental Law Institute, 2005).

"The 10th Amendment and Other Paper Tigers: The Legal Boundaries of Educational Governance," in Who's in Charge Here? The Tangled Web of School Governance and Policy (Brookings, 2004).

Articles

"Poverty as Disability and the Future of Special Education Law," 101 Geo. L.J. (forthcoming 2013).
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“The Case for New Textualism” (with Doug Kendall), Democracy, Summer 2011, at 66.

“Laying Claim to the Constitution: The Promise of New Textualism,” 97 Va. L. Rev. 1523 (2011).
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“Race and Response-to-Intervention in Special Education” (with Angela A. Ciolfi), 54 How. L.J. 303 (2011).
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"Standards, Testing, and School Finance Litigation," 86 Tex. L. Rev. 1223 (2008) (recipient of Education Law Association’s Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship).
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"Charter Schools and Public Education," 4 Stan. J.C.R. & C.L. 393 (2008).
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"Standards, Testing, and School Finance Litigation," 86 Tex. L. Rev. 1223 (2008).

“The Supreme Court and Voluntary Integration,” 121 Harv. L. Rev. 131 (2007).
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“The Chief as Teacher,” 58 Stan. L. Rev. 1687 (2006).
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“A Constitutional Right to Preschool?,” 94 Cal. L. Rev. 49 (2006). SSRN abstract.
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“Voluntary Integration: Asking the Right Questions,” 67 Ohio St. L.J. 327 (2006).
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"Brown, School Choice and the Suburban Veto," 90 Va. L. Rev. 1635 (2004).
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"Foreword to Symposium on School Finance Litigation: Emerging Trends or New Dead Ends?" (with Thomas Saunders), 22 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 463 (2004).
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"The Perverse Incentives of the No Child Left Behind Act," 79 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 932 (2004).
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"The Neutrality Principle," Education Next, Fall 2003, at 28.

"The Limited Influence of Social Science Evidence in Modern Desegregation Cases," 81 N.C. L. Rev. 1659 (2003) (essay prepared for conference).
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"Race Discrimination in Education: A Legal Perspective," 105 Teachers Coll. Rec. 1087 (2003) (paper commissioned by National Research Council).
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“The Political Economy of School Choice” (with Michael Heise), 111 Yale L.J. 2043 (2002). 
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“A Political History of the Establishment Clause” (with John C. Jeffries Jr.), 100 Mich. L. Rev. 279 (2001).
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"The Supreme Court and Public Schools," 86 Va. L. Rev. (2000).
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"The Influence of Race in School Finance Reform," 98 Mich. L. Rev. 432 (1999).
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"Schools, Race, and Money," 109 Yale L.J. 249 (1999).
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"Sheff, Segregation, and School Finance Litigation," 74 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 529 (1999).
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“'Paying' for the Change: Using Eminent Domain to Secure Exactions and Sidestep Nollan and Dolan" (co-author), 81 Va. L. Rev. 1801 (1995).
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Note, "Smith and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act: An Iconoclastic Assessment," 78 Va. L. Rev. 1407 (1992).
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Reviews

"Does It Take a Theory?: Originalism, Active Liberty, and Minimalism," 58 Stan. L. Rev. 1623 (2006) (reviewing Stephen G. Breyer, Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution, and Cass Sunstein, Radicals in Robes: Why Extreme Right-Wing Courts Are Wrong for America).
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