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Prof. Bertrall Ross



Lansstr. 7-9
Room 210
14195 Berlin

Bertrall Ross is Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School. The politics department at JFKI is very happy to welcome him as a visting professor and lecturer of the summer term 2022. Prof. Ross teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, constitutional theory, election law, administrative law and statutory interpretation. 

Ross’ research is driven by a concern about democratic responsiveness and accountability, as well as the inclusion of marginalized communities in administrative and political processes. His past scholarship has been published in several books and journals, including the Columbia Law Review, New York University Law Review and the University of Chicago Law Review.  Two of his articles were selected by the Yale/Harvard/Stanford Junior Faculty Forum.  

Prior to joining the Virginia faculty, Ross taught at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he received the Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence. He has also been awarded the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin, the Princeton University Law and Public Affairs Fellowship, the Columbia Law School Kellis Parker Academic Fellowship and the Marshall Scholarship. Ross is currently serving on the Administrative Conference of the United States and the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court. 

Ross earned his undergraduate degree in international affairs and history from the University of Colorado, Boulder; his graduate degrees from the London School of Economics and Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs; and his law degree from Yale Law School. After law school, he clerked for Judge Dorothy Nelson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Myron Thompson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. 

  • J.D.Yale Law School2006
  • M.P.A.Princeton University School of Public and Internal Affairs2003
  • M.Sc.London School of Economics2001
  • B.A.University of Colorado Boulder1998

Summer Term 2022 at JFKI

The Law and Politics of Democracy in the United States, Bertrall Ross, Mondays, 10:00-12:00, (on 05/23, 05/30, 06/13, 06/20 and 06/27 also from 8:00-10:00 →block session, seminar room 340

Courses Taught:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Election Law
  • Constitutional Theory
  • Legislation
  •  Election Law Practicum, Notes Publishing Workshop

Ross’ research combines a concern with democratic responsiveness and a methodology integrating political theory and empirical social science into discussions of democratic design, legal doctrine, and the institutional role of courts. In the area of legislation, Ross explores how courts should reconcile legislative supremacy with the problem of interpreting statutes in contexts not foreseen by the enacting legislature. In election law, he examines the constitutional dimensions and the structural sources of how the poor are marginalized in the US political process.

Book Chapters

Minor v. Happersett, in Encyclopedia of the United States Constitution, Facts on File (2009). Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, in Encyclopedia of the United States Constitution, Facts on File (2009). United Jewish Organization v. Carey, in Encyclopedia of the United States Constitution, Facts on File (2009). Regulations Confronting Trade in Services, in Regionalism, Multilateralism, and Economic Integration: The Recent Experience, United Nations Publications, 253-274 (2005).

Articles & Reviews

Challenging the Crown: Checks, Balances, and the Principle of Legislative Independence, Alabama Law Review (2021). Partisan Gerrymandering as a Threat to Multiracial Democracy, Southwestern Law Review (2021). Voter Data, Democratic Inequality, and the Risk of Political Violence(with Douglas Spencer), Cornell Law Review (2021). Administrative Constitutionalism as Popular Constitutionalism, 167 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1783-1822 (2019). Passive Voter Suppression: Campaign Mobilization and the Effective Disfranchisement of the Poor (with Douglas M. Spencer), 114 Northwestern University Law Review 633-704 (2019). A Constitutional Path to Fair Representation for the Poor, 66 University of Kansas Law Review 921-950 (2018). Addressing Inequality in the Age of Citizens United, 93 New York University Law Review 1120-1200 (2018). Partisan Gerrymandering, the First Amendment, and the Political Outsider, 118 Columbia Law Review 2187-2218 (2018). Administering Suspect Classes, 66 Duke Law Journal 1807-1846 (2017). The 2016 Presidential Election: The Next Four Years and Beyond (with Dahlia Lithwick & Joan Williams), 44 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 255-275 (2017). Measuring Political Power: Suspect Class Determinations and the Poor (with Su Li), 104 California Law Review 323-390 (2016). Embracing Administrative Constitutionalism, 95 Boston University Law Review 519-586 (2015). Many Laws of Discrimination: The Multiple Sources of Constitutional-Statutory Convergence, 100 Iowa Law Review Bulletin 55-68 (2015). Paths of Resistance to Our Imperial First Amendment (reviewing Robert C. Post, Citizens Divided: Campaign Finance Reform and the Constitution) 113 Michigan Law Review 917-942 (2015). Denying Deference: Civil Rights and Judicial Resistance to Administrative Constitutionalism, 2014 University of Chicago Legal Forum 223-288 (2014). The State as Witness: Windsor, Shelby County, and Judicial Distrust of the Legislative Record, 89 New York University Law Review 2027-2105 (2014). Democracy and Renewed Distrust: Equal Protection and the Evolving Judicial Conception of Politics, 101 California Law Review 1565-1640 (2013). Reconsidering Statutory Interpretive Divergence between Elected and Appointed Judges, 80 University of Chicago Law Review Dialogue 53-80 (2013). The Costs and Elusive Gains of Complementarities: A Response to Ethan J. Leib & Christopher S. Elmendorf, Why Party Democrats Need Popular Democracy and Party Democrats Need Parties, 3 California Law Review Circuit 156-168 (2012). The Representative Equality Principle: Disaggregating the Equal Protection Intent Standard , 81 Fordham Law Review 175-240 (2012). Against Constitutional Mainstreaming, 78 University of Chicago Law Review 1203-1262 (2011). Minimum Responsiveness and the Political Exclusion of the Poor (with Terry Smith), 72 Law and Contemporary Problems 197-222 (2009). Not a Mere Omission: Reconciling the Clear Statement Rule and the Voting Rights Act , 7 Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law 159-202 (2006). Reconciling the Booker Conflict: A Substantive Sixth Amendment in a Real Offense Sentencing System, 4 Cardozo Public Law, Policy, and Ethics Journal 725-778 (2006).

Reports & Datasets

Guns and the Tyranny of American Republicanism, Brennan Center for Justice (2021).

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

Fair Elections During a Crisis: Urgent Recommendations in Law, Media, Politics and Tech to Advance the Legitimacy of, and the Public's Confidence in, the November 2020 U.S. Elections (with Ad Hoc Committee for 2020 Election Fairness and Legitimacy) (April, 2020).