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Dr.  Gary L. McDowell
Dr. Gary L. McDowell
Professor Emeritus

Dr. Gary L. McDowell is a leading constitutional scholar who joined the Jepson faculty in 2003 after a distinguished career in public life and the academy.

Prior to coming to the Jepson School, McDowell directed the Institute of United States Studies and taught American studies at the University of London. He also served as a member of the United States-United Kingdom Educational Commission (The Fulbright Commission). Prior to his work in London, he directed the Office of the Bicentennial of the Constitution at the National Endowment for the Humanities, served as chief speechwriter for Attorney General Edwin Meese, and held various positions at Tulane, Harvard, Harvard Law School, and Dickinson.

He was a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution and Bradley Resident Scholar at the Center for Judicial Studies in Washington, D.C.

He is the author or editor of 11 books on subjects ranging from privacy to juvenile delinquency, politics, judicial power, and the Constitution. His most recent book, published by Cambridge University Press, is The Language of Law and the Foundations of American Constitutionalism.

He appeared as a commentator on the PBS special reports "The Kennedy Confirmation Hearings" and "The Bork Confirmation Hearings" with Roger Mudd.

McDowell frequently lectures and participates in public events, and serves as co-director of the John Marshall International Center for the Study of Statesmanship in the Jepson School

University of Richmond Distinguished Educator Award, 2005
Selected Publications

The Language of Law and the Foundations of American Constitutionalism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Lincoln's Legacy of Leadership (Co-edited with George R. Goethals) (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

America and Enlightenment Constitutionalism (Co-edited with Johnathan O’Neill) (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

Juvenile Delinquency in the United States and the United Kingdom. (Co-edited with Jinney S. Smith) (London: Macmillan, 1999).

Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787-1788 (Co-editor with Colleen Sheehan) (Indianapolis, Indiana: Liberty Press, 1998).

Reason and Republicanism: Thomas Jefferson's Legacy of Liberty (Contributing co-editor with Sharon Noble) (Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997).

Justice vs. Law: Courts and Politics in American Society (with Eugene W. Hickok, Jr.) (New York: The Free Press, 1993).

Our Peculiar Security: Essays on the Written Constitution (Co-editor with Eugene Hickok) (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1993).

Curbing the Courts: The Constitution and the Limits of Judicial Power (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988).

Equity and the Constitution: The Supreme Court, Equitable Relief and Public Policy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982).

Taking the Constitution Seriously: Essays on the Constitution and Constitutional Law (contributing editor) (Dubuque: Kendall-Hunt Publishing, 1981).

The American Founding: Politics, Statesmanship and the Constitution (contributing co-editor with Ralph Rossum) (New York: Kennikat Press 1981).


“The Perverse Paradox of Privacy,” in Robert H. Bork, ed., A Country I Do Not Recognize: The Legal Assault on American Values (Hoover Institution Press, 2005).

“Bork was the Beginning: Constitutional Moralism and the Politics of Judicial Selection,” University of Richmond Law Review 39 (2005): 101.

“The True Constitutionalist: Raoul Berger, 1901-2000,” Times Literary Supplement, May 25, 2001.

“The Politics of Meaning: Law Dictionaries and the Liberal Tradition of Interpretation,” American Journal of Legal History (July 2000).

“High Crimes and Misdemeanors: Recovering the Intentions of the Founders,” George Washington Law Review, March 1999.

Ph.D., University of Virginia 1979
Government and Public Affairs
A.M., University of Chicago 1978
Political Science
M.A., Memphis State University 1974
Political Science
B.A., University of South Florida 1972
Social Sciences
Contact Information
242 Jepson Hall
(804) 287-6085
(804) 287-6062 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
American Political Thought
Constitutional History
Cultural Leadership
The Supreme Court