Risa Goluboff

Fast Facts

  • Former dean, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Recipient of the UVA All-University teaching award
  • Clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
  • Expertise in constitutional law, legal history, civil rights, equal protection, race and policing, voting rights, homelessness

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Law and Justice
  • Race and Racism
  • Social Issues
  • Elections
  • Supreme Court

Risa Goluboff, faculty senior fellow, is the former dean of the University of Virginia School of Law and a nationally renowned legal historian whose scholarship and teaching focuses on American constitutional and civil rights law, especially their historical development in the 20th century. 

Goluboff is the author of The Lost Promise of Civil Rights (Harvard, 2007), which won the 2010 Order of the Coif Biennial Book Award and the 2008 James Willard Hurst Prize. Her second book, Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s (Oxford, 2016) was supported by a 2009 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Constitutional Studies and a 2012 Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. Goluboff is also co-editor (with Myriam Gilles) of Civil Rights Stories (Foundation Press, 2008), and the author of numerous shorter works.

Goluboff has been quoted or her work has been cited by The New York Times, Time, The Atlantic and more, and she has appeared on PBS documentaries and the popular radio podcast “BackStory.” Her commentaries frequently appear in Slate.

In addition to serving as dean, Goluboff is the Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law and a professor of history at UVA. She is an affiliated scholar at the Miller Center and a faculty affiliate at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies. A recipient of the University of Virginia’s All-University Teaching Award and the Law School’s Carl McFarland Award for excellence in faculty scholarship, Goluboff directed the University’s JD-MA in Program in History from 2011-16. In 2012, she was named a distinguished lecturer by the Organization of American Historians. Goluboff has served as a visiting professor at Columbia, Chicago, and New York University law schools.

Prior to joining the Law School in 2002, Goluboff clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court. She holds degrees from Harvard (AB), Yale (JD), and Princeton (MA, PhD), and has served as a Fulbright Scholar to South Africa.

Risa Goluboff News Feed

Melody Barnes, executive director of UVA’s Karsh Institute of Democracy, and John Bridgeland ’87, founder and executive chairman of the Office of American Possibilities, discuss their roles at the White House, how they became partners in several public policy efforts, and what Americans can do to strengthen democratic institutions and work together across differences.
John Bridgeland, Melody Barnes, Risa Goluboff University of Virginia School of Law
The University of Virginia’s Law School dean will leave the post at the end of the academic year, concluding an eight-year tenure marked by prolific faculty hiring, record-breaking fundraising and several enhancements to the student experience.
Risa Goluboff UVA Law
Dean Risa Goluboff of the University of Virginia School of Law has been appointed to a federal committee that documents the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. President Joe Biden announced Goluboff’s appointment to the Permanent Committee for the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise on March 3.
Risa Goluboff UVA Today
Risa Goluboff, dean of the University of Virginia School of Law, testified Thursday at Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. Speaking as an expert on constitutional law and in her personal capacity, Goluboff told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Supreme Court and the nation “will benefit enormously from the keen intelligence, impeccable integrity, broad experience and intellectual open-mindedness of a Justice Jackson.”
Risa Goluboff UVA Today
Four years after the deadly attack on the Charlottesville community, a landmark federal lawsuit against the white supremacists responsible is going to court. Integrity First for America—in partnership with a world-class legal team—is taking on the leaders of this violent movement. IFA’s Executive Director Amy Spitalnick, lead attorneys Roberta Kaplan and Karen Dunn, and UVA Law Dean Risa Goluboff will discuss the suit, Sines v. Kessler, and the process of holding extremists accountable. UVA Batten School's Ian Solomon and the Karsh Center's Micah Schwartzman will also offer remarks.
Risa Goluboff Miller Center Presents
The ongoing national reckoning with issues of racial justice has made the issue a central theme in the 2020 presidential campaign. In an effort to better understand the current moment, this program will examine the deep history of presidential leadership and race and will explore the following questions: What lessons might the policies and rhetoric of past presidents and administrations hold for our understanding of the challenges of the present moment? How does the current administration's policies and rhetoric on civil rights and racial justice compare with the record of past administrations on these issues? Might we regard the Trump administration's approach to issues of race as without precedent? Or is it possible to draw similarities between past administrations and the current one?

Risa Goluboff Miller Center Presents