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Our History: Former Faculty [Fall 2020 - this site is under construction as we update this list]: Klarman, Michael (1987-2008)

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

Michael Klarman, 1987-2008


A native of New York City, Klarman earned a B.A and M.A. in Political Theory from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980, a J.D. from Stanford in 1983, and a D. Phil. from Oxford in 1987. Klarman joined the Virginia faculty in 1987 after completing his doctoral thesis as a Marshall Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif. A graduate of Stanford Law School, where he won numerous awards and served as senior articles and symposium editor of the Stanford Law Journal, Klarman clerked for Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 1983-84. At UVA, Klarman taught courses such as criminal law, constitutional law, and American legal history. He was named the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law as well as the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Research Professor and Professor of History. In 2005 his book, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Oxford University Press 2004) won the Bancroft Prize, widely considered to be the most prestigious award in American history writing. Klarman’s scholarly work and teaching has garnered him several awards, including the first Roger and Madeleine Traynor Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Legal Scholarship given by Virginia Law, the University of Virginia Harrison Achievement Award, the State Council of Higher Education Faculty Award, and the All-University Teaching Award, one of the University’s highest honors for excellence in teaching, research, and service. He also served on the editorial board of the Law and History Review. He is now a professor of law at Harvard.



From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Oxford University Press, 2004).

Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Movement: Abridged Edition of From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Oxford University Press, 2007).

Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History (Oxford University Press, 2007).

Articles and Book Chapters

Osborne: A Judgement Gone Too Far?, 103 Eng. Hist. Rev. 21-39 (1988).

The Judges versus the Unions: The Development of British Labor Law, 1867-1913, 75 Va. L. Rev. 1487-1602 (1989).

Parliamentary Reversal of the Osborne Judgement, 32 Hist. J. 893-924 (1989).

The Trade Union Political Levy, the Osborne Judgement (1909) and the South Wales Miners’ Federation, 15 Welsh Hist. Rev. 34-57 (1990).

The Puzzling Resistance to Political Process Theory, 77 Va. L. Rev. 747-832 (1991).

An Interpretive History of Modern Equal Protection, 90 Mich. L. Rev. 213-318 (1991).

Brown, Racial Change, and the Civil Rights Movement, 80 Va. L. Rev. 7-150 (1994).

How Brown Changed Race Relations: The Backlash Thesis, 81 J. Am. Hist. 81-118 (1994).

Reply: Brown v. Board of Education: Facts and Political Correctness, 80 Va. L. Rev. 185-199 (1994).

Brown, Originalism, and Constitutional Theory: A Response to Professor McConnell, 81 Va. L. Rev. 1881-1936 (1995); excerpt reprinted in Va. J., Fall 1998, at 20-22.

Rethinking the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Revolutions, 82 Va. L. Rev. 1-67 (1996).

Antifidelity, 70 S. Cal. L. Rev. 381-415 (1997).

Fidelity, Indeterminacy, and the Problem of Constitutional Evil, 65 Fordham L. Rev. 1739-1756 (1997).

Majoritarian Judicial Review: The Entrenchment Problem, 85 Geo. L.J. 491-553 (1997).

The Plessy Era, 1998 Sup. Ct. Rev. 303-414.

Race and the Court in the Progressive Era, 51 Vand. L. Rev. 881-952 (1998).

What’s So Great about Constitutionalism?  93 Nw. U. L. Rev. 145-194 (1998).

Constitutional Fetishism and the Clinton Impeachment Debate, 85 Va. L. Rev. 631-659 (1999).

The Racial Origins of Modern Criminal Procedure, 99 Mich. L. Rev. 48-97 (2000).

How Great Were the “Great” Marshall Court Decisions?, 87 Va. L. Rev. 1111-1184 (2001).

The White Primary Rulings: A Case Study in the Consequences of Supreme Court Decisionmaking, 29 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 55-107 (2001).

Is the Supreme Court Sometimes Irrelevant?: Race and the Southern Criminal Justice System in the 1940s, 89 J. Am. Hist. 119-153 (2002).

Brown at 50, 90 Va. L. Rev. 1613-1633 (2004).

Brown v. Board of Education: Law or Politics?, in From the Grassroots to the Supreme Court: Brown v. Board of Education and American Democracy 198-224 (Peter F. Lau ed., Duke University Press, 2004).

Why Brown v. Board of Education Was a Hard Case, Judges J., Spring 2004, at 6-14.

Brown and Lawrence (and Goodridge).  104 Mich. L. Rev. 431-489 (2005).

Powell v. Alabama: The Supreme Court Confronts “Legal Lynchings,” in Criminal Procedure Stories 1-44 (Carol S. Steiker ed., Foundation Press, 2006).

Race and Rights, in 3 Cambridge History of Law in America 403-441, 830-844 (Michael Grossberg & Christopher Tomlins eds., Cambridge University Press, 2008).


Constitutional Fact/Constitutional Fiction: A Critique of Bruce Ackerman’s Theory of Constitutional Moments (reviewing Ackerman, We the People: Foundations), 44 Stan. L. Rev. 759-797 (1992).

The Senate’s Role in Supreme Court Appointments, Va. L. Sch. Rep., Winter 1992, at 11-17.

Civil Rights Law: Who Made it and How Much Did it Matter? (reviewing Tushnet, Making Civil Rights Law), 83 Geo. L.J. 433-459 (1994).

Review of Ball & Cooper, Of Power and Right; Urofsky, Felix Frankfurter; and Yarbrough, John Marshall Harlan, 12 Law & Hist. Rev. 399-407 (1994).

To the Editor, 81 J. Am. Hist. 1429-1431 (1994).

Review of Davidson & Grofman, eds., Quiet Revolution in the South, 82 J. Am. Hist. 849-850 (1995).

Review of Halpern, On the Limits of the Law, 101 Am. Hist. Rev. 1644-1645 (1996).

Civil Liberties (Update 2), in 1 Encyclopedia of the American Constitution 382-384 (Leonard W. Levy & Kenneth L. Karst eds., Macmillan Reference USA, 2d ed. 2000).

Rethinking the History of American Freedom (Review Essay of Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom (1998)), 42 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 265-288 (2000).

Substantive Due Process (Update 2), in 5 Encyclopedia of the American Constitution 2576-2578 (Leonard W. Levy & Kenneth L. Karst eds., Macmillan Reference USA, 2d ed. 2000).

Are Landmark Court Decisions All That Important?, Chron. Higher Educ., Aug. 8, 2003, at B10-11; reprinted in The United States Supreme Court 66-71 (Paul McCaffrey & Lynn M. Messina eds., H.W. Wilson, 2005).

Better Late than Never, N.Y. Times, May 17, 2004, at A21.

It Could Have Gone the Other Way, Nation, May 3, 2004, at 24-26, 28; reprinted in The United States Supreme Court 47-52 (Paul McCaffrey & Lynn M. Messina eds., H.W. Wilson, 2005).

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in United States Law, in 2 Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History 15-22 (Stanley N. Katz ed., Oxford University Press, 2009).