Kimberly J. Robinson

Fast Facts

  • Martha Lubin Karsh and Bruce A. Karsh Bicentennial Professor of Law 
  • Senior fellow, Learning Policy Institute
  • Served in the General Counsel’s Office of the U.S. Department of Education
  • Expertise on educational equity, equal educational opportunity, civil rights, federal role in education

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Education
  • Human Rights and Civil Rights
  • Law and Justice
  • Race and Racism
  • Social Issues

Kimberly Jenkins Robinson is the Martha Lubin Karsh and Bruce A. Karsh Bicentennial Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, a professor at both the School of Education and Human Development and the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, and a Miller Center faculty senior fellow. She is an expert who speaks throughout the United States about K-12 educational equity, equal opportunity, civil rights, and federalism.

In 2019, New York University Press published the edited volume titled A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy. Robinson brought together some of the nation’s leading law and education scholars to examine why the United States should consider recognizing a federal right to education, how the nation could recognize such a right, and what the right should guarantee. In 2015, Harvard Education Press published her co-edited book with Professor Charles Ogletree Jr. of Harvard Law School, The Enduring Legacy of Rodriguez: Creating New Pathways to Equal Educational Opportunity. Scholars analyzed the impact of the 1972 United States Supreme Court decision San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, which held that the U.S. Constitution does not protect a right to education. Her scholarship has been published widely in leading journals, including the Harvard Law Review, the Stanford Law & Policy Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, and the Boston College Law Review.  

Robinson serves on the advisory boards for Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab National Education Resource Database on Schools and the Gates Foundation’s Intradistrict Resource Inequity Project. She is a member of the American Law Institute.

She is the 2016 Recipient of the Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law from the Education Law Association for Disrupting Education Federalism, which was published in the Washington University Law Review.

Before Robinson began her career as a professor, she practiced law in the General Counsel’s Office of the U.S. Department of Education and as an education litigation attorney with Hogan & Hartson law firm (now Hogan Lovells). She also served as a clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

Robinson graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and earned a BA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar and a recipient of the University Achievement Award.

Kimberly J. Robinson News Feed

After Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, race-conscious diversity-initiatives in undergraduate admissions were drastically curtailed. To explain the Supreme Court’s prior jurisprudence and the impact of SFFA, the Miller Center at the University of Virginia hosted a panel discussion titled, The evolution of affirmative action—and its uncertain future, on Friday, September 15.
Barbara Perry, Kevin Gaines, and Kimberly J. Robinson Virginia Law Weekly
A new institute at the University of Virginia School of Law aims to ensure that all students receive a high-quality K-12 education and help schools understand how to address obstacles facing disadvantaged students. The new Education Rights Institute, supported by an anonymous $4.9 million gift, is led by UVA professor Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, who will serve as the inaugural director.
Kimberly J. Robinson UVA Law
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision overturning affirmative action in college admissions, this program examines the evolution and legacy of race-conscious college admission programs across the United States. Reflecting on the nearly fifty years of legal precedent upholding affirmative action, our diverse panel of scholars discusses the significant impact of the historic policy on higher education, as well as the uncertain future of racial diversity in college admissions.
Barbara Perry, Kevin Gaines, and Kimberly J. Robinson Miller Center Presents
Writing for the majority in a case that bans affirmative action in college admissions, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that such programs “unavoidably employ race in a negative manner” that goes against the Constitution.
The research, however, shows that the ban could potentially harm many college students and ultimately the United States.
Kimberly J. Robinson The Conversation
I am paying especially close attention to two issues. First, the burden of proof to establish that sex discrimination occurred is what determines the effectiveness of Title IX, particularly in instances of sexual harassment and assault. The proposed regulation generally requires a recipient to adopt a preponderance of the evidence standard, i.e., to prove that more likely than not discrimination occurred.
Kimberly J. Robinson Brookings Institution
"In the United States, education is not a federal right. Such a right is enshrined in all 50 state constitutions, but not in the U.S. Constitution. The nation should consider establishing such a right through the courts, Congress, or a constitutional amendment, says Kimberly Robinson, Miller Center Faculty Senior Fellow, professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, and editor of 'A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy.' America really has two educational systems, says Professor Robinson: one for upper- and middle-class students that works well, and one for low-income, rural, and many Black and Hispanic students that works much less well."
Kimberly J. Robinson the Christian Science Monitor