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Smith earned his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. As a student at the law school, he served as articles editor for the Virginia Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif and the Raven Society. Upon graduation, he clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States. Before returning to the law school, Smith served in the Supreme Court and appellate practice group of Sidley & Austin in Washington, D.C. He also served as associate majority counsel to a 1996 House of Representatives select subcommittee investigating U.S. involvement in Iranian arms transfers to Bosnia and as an adjunct professor at George Mason University School of Law. At UVA, Smith taught courses on criminal law, criminal adjudication and federal criminal law. Smith became the John V. Ray Research Professor. After serving as a visiting professor at Notre Dame in 2008, he joined its faculty in 2009.
Activism as Restraint: Lessons from Criminal Procedure, 80 Tex. L. Rev. 1057-1115 (2002).
The Rehnquist Court and Criminal Procedure, 73 U. Colo L. Rev. 1337-1361 (2002).
Cultural Change and “Catholic Lawyers”, 1 Ave Maria L. Rev. 31-59 (2003).
Proportionality and Federalization, 91 Va. L. Rev. 879-953 (2005).
Jail for Juvenile Child Pornographers?: A Reply to Professor Leary, 15 Va. J. Soc. Pol’y & L. 505-544 (2008).
The Supreme Court and the Politics of Death, 94 Va. L. Rev. 283-383 (2008).
Proportional Mens Rea, 46 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 127-155 (2009).
“We the Protestants” (reviewing Hamburger, Separation of Church and State), First Things, Dec. 2002, at 43.
Not Just Cops and Robbers: Expect the Justices to Favor Law Enforcement in the Fight Against Terror, Legal Times, Oct. 6, 2003, at 66.