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 Corinna Barrett Lain
Corinna Barrett Lain
S. D. Roberts & Sandra Moore Professor of Law
Courses Taught Criminal Procedure Evidence

Professor Corinna Barrett Lain is a constitutional law scholar who writes about the influence of extralegal norms on Supreme Court decisionmaking, with a particular focus on the field of capital punishment. Her scholarship, which often uses the lens of legal history, has appeared in the Stanford Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Duke Law Journal, UCLA Law Review, and Georgetown Law Journal, among other venues. Professor Lain is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and received the University of Richmond’s Distinguished Educator Award in 2006. She is a former prosecutor and an Army veteran.

Keynote Speaker, "Mental Health and Capital Punishment," Regent University Law Review, Virginia Beach, Virginia (Nov. 2018).
Presenter, "The Problem with Lethal Injection," Workshop, William & Mary Law School (Feb. 2018).

"The Case Against the Supreme Court: A Conversation with Dean Erwin Chemerinsky," Vanderbilt Law School (2016)

Panelist, "The Politics of Interpretive Control," Judicial Supremacy v. Departmentalism Law Review Symposium, William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg (2016)

Panelist, "Supreme Court Transparency" and "Libraries Adding Value: The Potential of the 22nd Century Library," Southeastern Association of Law Schools, Florida (2015)

"Capital Punishment, Human Rights, and the Market for Death Penalty Drugs," The Death Penalty in North Carolina and the U.S., Duke University Kenan Institute for Ethics (2015) (with Jim Gibson)

"Death Penalty Drugs and the International Moral Marketplace," Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Roundtable (2014)

"God, Civic Virtue, and the American Way: Reconstructing Engel," Washington & Lee University (2014)

"Upside-Down Judicial Review," Universidad Federal de Rio De Janeiro (2013)

"God, Civic Virtue, and the American Way: Reconstructing Engel," Florida International University (2013)

"Death Penalty Drugs and the International Moral Marketplace," Law & Society Annual Conference (2013)

"Passive-Aggressive Executive Power," Constitutional Law Schmooze (2013)

"A Note to the Popular Constitutionalists," Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Conference (2012)

"Upside-Down Judicial Review, Judges and Judging Roundtable,"  American University Washington College of Law (2011)

"Upside-Down Judicial Review," University of Nebraska School of Law (2011)

"Upside-Down Judicial Review, American Constitutional Society," University of Richmond School of Law (2011)

"Cruel and Unusual," Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Conference (2011)

"The Countermajoritarian Classics (and an Upside Down Theory of Judicial Review)" University of Houston Law School  Criminal Procedure Speaker Series (2010)

"The Doctrinal Side of Majority Will," Michigan State University School of Law (2010)

"The Mirage of Miranda," Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Conference (2010)

"The Death Penalty: Contemporary Issues in Contemporary Society, "Washington & Lee School of Law (2007), William & Mary School of Law (2008), University of Richmond School of Law (2009)

"Writing For Tenure," Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Conference (2009)

"Death Is Different (But Not Really)," Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Conference (2008)

"Death Is Different (But Not Really)," Emory Law School (2008)

"Death Is Different (But Not Really)," William & Mary School of Law (2008)

"Deciding Death," Duke Law Journal Annual Fall Lecture (2007)

"Death is Different (But Not Really)," Seton Hall School of Law (2007)

"Deciding Death," University of Richmond Center for Civic Engagement (2007)

"Furman Fundamentals," Wake Forest School of Law (2006)

"Deciding Death," Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Conference (2006), William & Mary School of Law (2005)

"Deciding Death," William & Mary School of Law (2005)

Founder, Virginia Junior Faculty Forum
Founder, Richmond Law Faculty Colloquy Series
Founder, Richmond Law Teaching & Scholarship Workshop Series
Bar Admissions
Professional Experience
Associate Dean for Faculty Development (2011-present)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.
Professor of Law (2008-present)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.
Associate Professor of Law (2005-08)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.
Assistant Professor of Law (2002-05)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.
Acting Associate Dean (2008)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney (1997-2000)
Henrico Commonwealth Attorney's Office, Richmond, Va.
Judicial Clerkship in chambers of Judge John C. Porfilio (1996-97)
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Denver, CO

Mostly Settled, But Right for Now, ___ Const. Comment. ___ (forthcoming 2018).

Soft Supremacy, 58 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1609 (2017).

Three Supreme Court “Failures” and a Story of Supreme Court Success, 69 Vand. L. Rev. 1019 (2016) (symposium contribution) (reviewed by Jotwell).

Death Penalty Drugs and the International Moral Marketplace, 103 Geo. L.J. 1215 (2015) (with James Gibson).

Upside-Down Judicial Review, 101 Geo. L. J. 113 (2012). 

The Unexceptionalism of "Evolving Standards," 57 UCLA L. Rev. 365 (2009). 

Deciding Death, 57 Duke L.J. 1 (2007).

Furman Fundamentals, 82 Wash. L. Rev. 1 (2007).

Shorter Works

The Highs and Lows of Michael Meltsner: A Tribute, Ne. U. L. Rev. (2018).

Death Row, Calls for Indifference, and Redemption of the Soul, 7 Ohio St. L.J. Furthermore 105 (2016).

Feminist Justice, The New Rambler (April 2016) (book review).

The Politics of Botched Executions, 49 U of Rich. L. Rev. 825 (2015) (symposium contribution).

The Highs and Lows of Wild Justice, 50 Tulsa L. Rev. 503 (2015) (book review).

Passive-Aggressive Executive Power, 73 Md. L. Rev. 227 (2013) (symposium contribution).

The Virtues of Thinking Small, 67 U. Miami L. Rev. 397 (2013) (symposium contribution). 

Lessons Learned From the Evolution of "Evolving Standards"4 Charleston L. Rev. 661 (2010) (symposium contribution).

The Doctrinal Side of Majority Will, 2010 Mich. St. L. Rev. 775 (2010) (symposium contribution). 


The Power, Problems, and Potential of "Evolving Standards of Decency" in The Eighth Amendment and its Future in a New Age of Punishment (forthcoming 2019).

Following Finality: Why Capital Punishment is Collapsing Under its own Weight in Final Judgments: The Death Penalty in American Law and Culture (Cambridge University Press 2017).

In the News

Justice Kennedy and Criminal Procedure (C-SPAN)
Fri., Oct. 5, 2018

March for Truth draws Saturday crowd (Style Weekly)
Tue., Jun. 6, 2017

Texas suit over death penalty drug faces steep odds (Law 360)
Wed., May. 10, 2017

Op-ed: Is the White House creating havoc on purpose? (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Mon., Feb. 6, 2017

Virginia's lethal injection costs set to skyrocket as secret drug vendor charges $16.5K per execution (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Fri., Sep. 30, 2016

As Arizona, other states struggle to find execution drugs, how far should states go to carry out executions? (KJZZ)
Thu., Dec. 3, 2015

Where do the death penalty abolitionists go from here? (Bloomberg Business)
Tue., Jun. 30, 2015

On Glossip (PrawfsBlawg)
Mon., Jun. 29, 2015

Gay marriage shows court at its best (Bloomberg View)
Fri., Jun. 26, 2015

'An antidemocratic and largely foreign conspiracy' (PrawfsBlawg)
Thu., Jun. 25, 2015

In anticipation of Glossip (PrawfsBlawg)
Wed., Jun. 24, 2015

Is criticism of lethal injection just a front for opposing the death penalty? (PrawfsBlawg)
Tue., Jun. 16, 2015

Is lethal injection about us or them? (PrawfsBlawg)
Wed., Jun. 10, 2015

Unconstitutional repeal? (PrawfsBlawg)
Fri., Jun. 5, 2015

Got drugs? (PrawfsBlawg)
Thu., Jun. 4, 2015

Why is Glossip so hard? (PrawfsBlawg)
Fri., May. 1, 2015

Pharmacy Groups Balk at Supplying Lethal Injection (NBC News)
Mon., Mar. 30, 2015

McAuliffe officials try to get Va. House to change vote on lethal injection (The Washington Post)
Wed., Feb. 25, 2015

Against Lethal Injection Secrecy in Virginia (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Sat., Feb. 14, 2015

Va. Senate Backs Secrecy on Execution Drugs (Courthouse News Service)
Wed., Feb. 11, 2015

Virginia Senate approves bill aimed at continuing executions by lethal injection (The Republic)
Tue., Feb. 10, 2015

Capital Punishment Cover-Up (Slate)
Tue., Feb. 3, 2015

Va. Senate panel advances bill to ensure supply of lethal-injection drug (The Washington Post)
Thu., Jan. 29, 2015

Bill proposes secrecy on Virginia executions (Daily Press)
Thu., Jan. 29, 2015

Botched US execution sparks death penalty debate (Channel News Asia)
Sun., May. 18, 2014

Gibson and Lain: Capital punishment, illuminated (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Wed., May. 7, 2014

Europe taught America how to end the death penalty. Now maybe it finally will (The Guardian)
Mon., May. 5, 2014

Painful Death Penalty Failure (95bFM)
Fri., May. 2, 2014

Could Europe Put a Stop to the Death Penalty in Texas? (
Thu., Apr. 24, 2014

Death penalty crisis reveals macabre options still open inĀ US (The Conversation)
Thu., Feb. 6, 2014

Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney addresses political ties to Morrissey (NBC12, CapitalBay Online)
Fri., Aug. 30, 2013

12 Investigates: Growing number of guilty pleas (NBC12)
Thu., Feb. 21, 2013

"Upside-Down Judicial Review" is the download of the week (Legal Theory Blog)
Sat., Jan. 14, 2012

B.A., College of William & Mary 1992
J.D., University of Virginia School of Law 1996
Contact Information
Room 254, Law School
(804) 289-8738
(804) 289-8992 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Constitutional Law
Death Penalty
Criminal Procedure