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Our History: Former Faculty [Fall 2020 - this site is under construction as we update this list]: Karlan, Pamela S. (1988-1998)

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

Pamela S. Karlan, 1988-1998

Pamela Karlan

A native of New York City, Pamela Karlan received an M.A. in history and J.D. from Yale in 1984, where she was article and book review editor of the Yale Law Journal. After law school, she clerked for Judge Abraham Sofaer of the Southern District of New York and Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court. From 1986 to 1988, she worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. as an assistant counsel specializing in voting rights and employment discrimination litigation. At UVA she taught such courses as civil procedure and law and political participation. During her tenure at UVA she published many articles, won an All-University Outstanding Teaching Award in 1996, and received a State Council of Higher Education in Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award. She became the first Roy L. & Rosamond Woodruff Morgan Research Professor. She was a visiting professor at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and NYU law schools. Karlan served as a counsel in numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and presented oral arguments in two—Morse vs. Republican Party of Virginia and Chisom vs. Roemer. She prepared amicus briefs for Planned Parenthood, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU, the LDF, and the NOW Legal Defense Fund. Karlan left in 1998 to join the faculty of Stanford Law School.



The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process (with Samuel Issacharoff and Richard H. Pildes) (Foundation Press, 1998).

Articles and Book Chapters

Maps and Misreadings: The Role of Geographic Compactness in Racial Vote Dilution Litigation, 24 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 173-248 (1989); abridged version printed as Going Beyond District Boundaries in Voting Rights Law, Va. L. Sch. Rep., Spring 1990, at 25-29.

Undoing the Right Thing: Single-Member Offices and the Voting Rights Act, 77 Va. L. Rev. 1-45 (1991).

Discrete and Relational Criminal Representation: The Changing Vision of the Right to Counsel, 105 Harv. L. Rev. 670-724 (1992).

All Over the Map: The Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Trilogy, 1993 Sup. Ct. Rev. 245-287; reprinted in Voting Rights 262-304 (Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, May 11, 1994).

Bringing Compassion into the Province of Judging: Justice Blackmun and the Outsiders, 97 Dick. L. Rev. 527-540 (1993); reprinted in 71 N.D. L. Rev. 173-185 (1995).

Contingent Fees and Criminal Cases, 93 Colum. L. Rev. 595-638 (1993); reprinted in 16 Crim. L. Rev. 547-590 (1994).

In a Diffident Voice: Relational Feminism, Abortion Rights, and the Feminist Legal Agenda (with Daniel R. Ortiz), 87 Nw. U. L. Rev. 858-896 (1993).

Richard Posner’s Just-So Stories: The Phallacies of Sex and Reason, 1 Va. J. Soc. Pol’y & L. 229-260 (1993).

The Right to Vote: Some Pessimism about Formalism, 71 Tex. L. Rev. 1705-1740 (1993); reprinted in Voting Rights 226-261(Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, May 11, 1994).

From Logic to Experience, 83 Geo. L.J. 1-4 (1994).

Not by Money but by Virtue Won?: Vote Trafficking and the Voting Rights System, 80 Va. L. Rev. 1455-1475 (1994).

Après Shaw Le Dèluge?, PS: Pol. Sci. & Pol., March 1995, at 50-54.

Cumulative Voting as a Remedy in Voting Rights Cases (with Edward Still), 84 Nat’l Civic Rev. 337-346 (1995).

Fee Shifting in Criminal Cases, 71 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 583-602 (1995).

Negative Political Theory (with Daniel R. Ortiz), 68 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1691-1704 (1995).

Our Separatism? Voting Rights as an American Nationalities Policy, 1995 U. Chi. Legal F. 83-109.

Still Hazy After All These Years: Voting Rights in the Post-Shaw Era, 26 Cumb. L. Rev. 287-311 (1995); abridged version published as The Supreme Court and Voting Rights: “Bizarre” Districts or Bizarre Decisions?, S. Changes, Fall/Winter 1995, at 8-13.

Cousins’ Kin: Justice Stevens and Voting Rights, 27 Rutgers L.J. 521-541 (1996).

Disabilities, Discrimination, and Reasonable Accommodation (with George Rutherglen), 46 Duke L.J. 1-41 (1996).

Why Voting Is Different (with Daryl J. Levinson), 84 Cal. L. Rev. 1201-1232 (1996).

Just Politics?: Five Not So Easy Pieces of the 1995 Term, 34 Hous. L. Rev. 289-321 (1997).

Loss and Redemption: Voting Rights at the Turn of a Century, 50 Vand. L. Rev. 291-326 (1997).

The Majoritarian Difficulty: One Person, One Vote (with Lani Guinier), in Reason and Passion: Justice Brennan’s Enduring Influence 207-222 (E. Joshua Rosenkranz & Bernard Schwartz eds., Norton, 1997).

Constitutional Farce (with Daniel R. Ortiz), in Constitutional Stupidities, Constitutional Tragedies 180-188 (William N. Eskridge, Jr. and Sanford Levinson eds., New York University Press, 1998).

The Fire Next Time: Reapportionment after the 2000 Census, 50 Stan. L. Rev. 731-763 (1998).

Standing and Misunderstanding in Voting Rights Law (with Samuel Issacharoff), 111 Harv. L. Rev. 2276-2292 (1998).

Two Section Twos and Two Section Fives: Voting Rights and Remedies after Flores, 39 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 725-741 (1998).


Review of Cagin & Dray, We Are Not Afraid, Hum. Rts., Fall 1988, at 10-11.

Class of 1991: “Law and ...”, Va. L. Sch. Rep., Summer 1991, at 41-42.

To the Class of 1993: Throwing out the First Pitch, Va. L. Sch. Rep., Winter 1991, at 23-25.

Review of Parker, Black Votes Count, 58 J. S. Hist. 175-176 (1992).

Supreme Court Review: Individual Rights Upheld, Nat’l L.J., Aug. 31, 1992, at S12.

Minority Reps, Nation, Mar. 8, 1993, at 292.

Conference: The Supreme Court, Racial Politics, and the Right to Vote: Shaw v. Reno and the Future of the Voting Rights Act (with others), 44 Am. U. L. Rev. 1-126 (1994).

End of the Second Reconstruction?  Nation, May 23, 1994, at 698-700; reprinted in Voting Rights 222-224 (Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, May 11, 1994).

Statement, in Voting Rights 214-220 (Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, May 11, 1994).

A Tribute to Justice Harry A. Blackmun, 108 Harv. L. Rev. 13-19 (1994).

Court Still Ambivalent on Redistricting (with Thomas C. Goldstein), Nat’l L.J., July 24, 1995, at A19-20.

Democracy and Dis-Appointment (reviewing Guinier, The Tyranny of the Majority), 93 Mich. L. Rev. 1273-1296 (1995).

On a Collision Course: The Ambiguity of Shaw v. Reno Pits the Voting Rights Act Against the Constitution (with Thomas C. Goldstein), Legal Times, April 17, 1995, at 24-25.

Voting Rights Act Successful and Necessary (reviewing Davidson & Grofman, eds., Quiet Revolution in the South), Voting Rts. Rev., Spring 1995, at 24-25.

Statement, in Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice 34-41 (Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, May 20, 1997).

The American Bar Association Presidential Showcase Program: The Geography of Race in Elections: Color-Blindness and Redistricting (panelist), 14 J.L. & Pol. 109-152 (1998).