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Our History: Former Faculty [Fall 2020 - this site is under construction as we update this list]: Merrill, Richard A. (1969-2007)

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

Richard A. Merrill, 1969-2007

Richard A. Merrill

A native of Utah, Richard A. Merrill earned an A.B. from Columbia in 1959 and then went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. After taking a B.A. there in 1961, he came back to Columbia Law School where he received his LL.B. and was editor-in-chief of the Law Review.  After graduation, he served as law clerk to Judge Carl McGowan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then practiced law for four years with Covington & Burling. In 1969, Dean Paulsen, who had known Merrill at Columbia, persuaded him to join the Virginia faculty. He taught courses in administrative law, constitutional law, deceptive practices, food and drug law, law and science, and legislation. He served as associate dean from 1974-75, during the law school’s move to the North Grounds. In 1975, Merrill took a two-year leave from the Law School to serve as chief counsel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where he received the FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation and the agency’s Award of Merit.  He has also been a consultant to the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Environmental Protection Agency.  Merrill has been a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences since 1979, serving on numerous committees and co-chairing the National Academies Committee on Science, Technology, and Law.

Merrill’s career at the law school encompassed 38 years of teaching and leadership. In 1980 he became the seventh Dean of the University of Virginia School of Law, a position he held until 1988.  As Dean, Merrill oversaw dramatic changes and developments at Virginia Law; he championed the growth of interdisciplinary studies and the importance of supporting that progress with the addition of new and specialized faculty members. He also oversaw the addition of research professorships to encourage and support advanced scholarship by law faculty.  Fellow law professor Michael P. Dooley summed up Merrill’s accomplishments as dean: “Under Dick’s leadership, we have achieved our ambition to join, and perhaps lead, that handful of institutions that will set the standards for legal education and scholarship in our time.”

Merrill died in 2017.



Introduction to the American Public Law System: Cases and Materials (with Jerry L. Mashaw) (West, 1975).

Food and Drug Law: Cases and Materials (with Peter Barton Hutt) (Foundation Press, 1980; 2d ed. 1991).

Statutory Supplement to Food and Drug Law: Cases and Materials (with Peter Barton Hutt) Foundation Press, 1980; 2d ed. 1992; 1996 ed.).

Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process (with others) (National Academy Press, 1983).

Administrative Law, the American Public Law System: Cases and Materials (with Jerry L. Mashaw) (West, 2d ed. 1985).

Risk Quantitation and Regulatory Policy (editor with David G. Hoel and Frederica P. Perera) (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1985).

Regulating Pesticides in Food: The Delaney Paradox (with others) (National Academy Press, 1987).

Nutrition Labeling: Issues and Directions for the 1990s (chair, Institute of Medicine Committee on the Nutrition Components of Food Labeling) (National Academy Press, 1990).

Administrative Law, the American Public Law System: Cases and Materials (with Jerry L. Mashaw and Peter M. Shane) (West, 3d ed. 1992; 4th ed. 1998; 5th ed. 2003).

Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committees (editor with Richard A. Rettig and Laurence E. Earley) (National Academy Press, 1992).

Food and Drug Law: Cases and Materials (with Peter Barton Hutt and Lewis A. Grossman) (Foundation Press, 3d ed. 2007).

Food and Drug Law: Cases and Materials, Third Edition: Statutory Supplement (with Peter Barton Hutt and Lewis A. Grossman) (Foundation Press, 2008).

Articles and Book Chapters

Compensation for Prescription Drug Injuries, 59 Va. L. Rev. 1-120 (1973).

Procedures for Adverse Actions Against Federal Employees, 59 Va. L. Rev. 196-278 (1973).

“Like Mother Used to Make”: An Analysis of FDA Food Standards of Identity (with Earl M. Collier, Jr.), 74 Colum. L. Rev. 561-621 (1974).

Administrative Rule-Making, 30 Food Drug Cosm. L.J. 478-482 (1975).

The Park Case, 30 Food Drug Cosm. L.J. 683-686 (1975).

Risk-Benefit Decisionmaking by the Food and Drug Administration, 45 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 994-1012 (1977).

Regulating Carcinogens in Food: A Legislator’s Guide to the Food Safety Provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 77 Mich. L. Rev. 171-250 (1978).

FDA and the Effects of Substantive Rules, 35 Food Drug Cosm. L.J. 270-282 (1980).

FDA Regulation of Environmental Contaminants of Food (with Michael Schewel), 66 Va. L. Rev. 1357-1441 (1980).

CPSC Regulation of Cancer Risks in Consumer Products: 1972-1981, 67 Va. L. Rev. 1261-1375 (1981).

Saccharin: A Regulator’s View, in The Scientific Basis of Health and Safety Regulation 153-170 (Robert W. Crandall & Lester B. Lave eds., Brookings Institution, 1981).

Role of Regulatory Agencies (with Richard R. Bates), in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention 1123-1133 (David Schottenfeld & Joseph F. Fromeini, Jr. eds., W.B. Saunders, 1982).

OSHA’s Generic Carcinogen Policy: Rule Making under Scientific and Legal Uncertainty: Comment, in Law and Science in Collaboration 105-108 (J.D. Nyhart & Milton W. Carrow eds., D.C. Heath, 1983).

Food and Drug Administration Regulation: An Unnecessary Barrier to New Product Innovation, 39 Food Drug Cosm. L.J. 113-119 (1984).

The Legal System’s Response to Scientific Uncertainty: The Role of Judicial Review, 4 Fundamental & Applied Toxicology S418-S425 (1984).

Legal Impediments to the Use of Risk Assessment by Regulatory Agencies, in Risk Quantitation and Regulatory Policy 41-52 (David G. Hoel et al. eds., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1985).

Reducing Diet-Induced Cancer through Federal Regulation: Opportunities and Obstacles, 38 Vand L. Rev. 513-538 (1985).

Saccharin: A Case Study of Government Regulation of Environmental Carcinogens (with Michael R. Taylor), 5 Va. J. Nat. Resources L. 1-84 (1985).

FDA’s “Erasure” of the Delaney Clause: A Study in Statutory Interpretation, the Glenn W. Kilpatrick Memorial Lecture, 50 Ass’n Food & Drug Officials Q. Bull. 199-215 (1986); reprinted in FDA’s Regulation of Carcinogenic Additives 87-104 (Committee on Government Operations, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, June 24, 1987).

Regulatory Toxicology, in Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons 917-932 (Curtis D. Klaassen et al. eds., Macmillan, 3d ed. 1986); updated versions published in 4th ed. (1991) at 970-984; 5th ed. (1996) at 1011-1023; and 6th ed. (2001) at 1141-1158.

Regulatory Trends in Product Assurance, in Future Directions in Product Assurance : Unilever Symposium 1985, at 63-97 (Unilever Research and Engineering Division, 1986).

Scientific Uncertainty in the Courts (with Kenneth S. Abraham), Issues Sci. & Tech., Winter 1986, at 93-107.

FDA’s Implementation of the Delaney Clause: Repudiation of Congressional Choice or Reasoned Adaptation to Scientific Progress?  5 Yale J. on Reg. 1-88 (1988).

Separation of Powers in the U.S. Government: Cooperation and Competition among the Branches, 18 Fed L. Rev. 1-26 (1988).

The FDA’s Authority under the Delaney Clause to Consider Mechanisms of Action in Determining Whether Additives “Induce Cancer” (with Robert Z. Bohan, Frederick H. Degnan, and Stuart M. Pape), 47 Food & Drug L.J. 77-106 (1992).

Congress as Scientists, Envtl. F., Jan. 1994, at 20-26.

The Architecture of Government Regulation of Medical Products, 82 Va. L. Rev. 1753-1866 (1996).

Origins and Causes of the Problem: The Regulatory Context, 24 Reg. Toxicology & Pharmacology 214-217 (1996).

FDA Regulation of Clinical Drug Trials, in The Handbook of Psychopharmacology Trials: An Overview of Scientific, Political, and Ethical Concerns 61-99 (Marc Hertzman & Douglas E. Feltner eds., New York University Press, 1997).

Food Safety Regulation: Reforming the Delaney Clause, 18 Ann. Rev. Pub. Health 313-340 (1997).

FDA and Mutual Recognition Agreements: Five Models of Harmonization, 53 Food & Drug L.J. 133-137 (1998).

The FDA May Not Regulate Tobacco Products as “Drugs” or as “Medical Devices,” 47 Duke L.J. 1071-1094 (1998).

The Importance and Challenges of “Mutual Recognition,” 29 Seton Hall L. Rev. 736-755 (1998).

Starting from Scratch?: Reinventing the Food Additive Approval Process (with Lars Noah), 78 B.U. L. Rev. 329-443 (1998).

Modernizing the FDA: An Incremental Revolution, Health Aff., Mar./Apr. 1999, at 96-111.

Genetic Testing: A Role for FDA?, 41 Jurimetrics 63-66 (2000).

However Advertised, Prescription Drugs Are Only Available with a Doctor’s Approval, 10 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 102-106 (2000).

Organizing Federal Food Safety Regulation (with Jeffrey K. Francer), 31 Seton Hall L. Rev. 61-173 (2000).

Science and the Law (with Donald Kennedy), Issues Sci. & Tech., Summer 2000, at 49-51.

FDA Regulation of Human Cloning: Usurpation or Statesmanship? (with Bryan J. Rose), 15 Harv. J. L. & Tech. 85-148 (2001).

Human Tissues and Reproductive Cloning: New Technologies Challenge FDA, 3 Hous. J. Health L. & Pol’y 1-82 (2002).

The Centennial of U.S. Food Safety Law: A Legal and Administrative History, in Toward Safer Food: Perspectives on Risk and Priority Setting 23-43 (Sandra A. Hoffman & Michael R. Taylor eds., Resources for the Future, 2005).

Regulating Reproductive Genetics: A Review of American Bioethics Commissions and Comparison to the British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (with Margaret Foster Riley), 6 Colum. Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. 1-64 (2005).


Review of Douglas, Points of Rebellion, 25 Reading Guide 17-19 (1970).

Review of Jackson, Food and Drug Legislation in the New Deal, and Blake, ed., Safeguarding the Public, 26 Reading Guide 1-3 (1971).

Suspect Products and FDA Control, Wash. Post, July 30, 1976, at 22.

Can the FDA Do Anything Right?  Va. L. Sch. Rep., Summer 1978, at 19-22.

Statement, in Food Safety and Nutrition Amendments of 1978, at 291-308 (Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, July 19, 1978).

Dedication to Dean Spies, 66 Va. L. Rev. 1029-1031 (1980).

Regulation of Carcinogens, Va. L. Wkly., Sept. 12, 1980, at 1, 3.

Problems Involving Federal Conflict of Interest Restrictions on Members of FDA Advisory Committees and Agency Officials (University of Rochester Medical Center, 1980).

Regulation of Toxic Chemicals (reviewing Shapo, a Nation of Guinea Pigs), 58 Tex. L. Rev. 463-487 (1980).

Dedication in Honor of Professor A.D. Woozley, 67 Va. L. Rev. 1-2 (1981).

Dedication to Monrad Paulsen, 67 Va. L. Rev. 443-444 (1981).

Law Panel: Current Legal Issues Involving Health Risk Regulation (with others), 22 Jurimetrics J. 403-430 (1982).

Lewis F. Powell, Jr. and the University of Virginia Law School, 68 Va. L. Rev. 175-176 (1982).

Tribute to Circuit Judge Carl McGowan, 96 F.R.D. 291-293 (1983).

Introduction to Administrative Law Symposium, 72 Va. L. Rev. 215-217 (1986).

Introductory Remarks, 5 Va. Tax Rev. 559 (1986).

Letter (with others), in FDA Proposals to Ease Restrictions on the Use and Sale of Experimental Drugs 7-11 (Committee on Government Operations, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, Apr. 29, 1987).

Statement, in Regulation of Pesticides 3-14 (Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representative, Hearing, June 8, 1987).

Reflections at the End of a Deanship, Va. L. Sch. Rep., Summer 1988, at 3-6.

Teacher, Lawyer, Public Servant, and Benefactor, 7 Va. Tax Rev. 415-416 (1988).

Foreword: Ten Years of Environmental Law: Regulating Environmental Carcinogens: Evolving Paradigms, 10 Va. Envtl. L.J. xiv-xx (1990).

Food Labels: Couriers of Public Health, Va. L. Sch. Rep., Summer 1991, at 10-16.

Tribute to Emerson G. Spies, 77 Va. L. Rev. 435-437 (1991).

Dedication, 8 J. Contemp. Health L. & Pol’y ix-xiii (1992).

Review of Cranor, Regulating Toxic Substances, Issues Sci. & Tech., Winter 1993/94, at 92-95.

Assessing Forensic Science (with Donald Kennedy), Issues Sci. & Tech., Fall 2003, at 33-34.

Science in the Regulatory Process: Foreword, Law & Contemp. Probs., Autumn 2003, at 1-5.

Top Court Cases for FDA, in FDA: A Century of Consumer Protection 113 (Wayne L. Pines ed., Food and Drug Law Institute, 2006).

A Tribute to Graham Lilly, 93 Va. L. Rev. 829-831 (2007).

A Lawyer in the Laboratory, 16 J.L. & Pol’y 4-5 (2007).