Victoria Nourse

Professor of Law

B.A., Stanford; J.D., University of California, Berkeley

Areas of Expertise:

Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Procedure, Legislation

Professor Nourse came to Georgetown after holding chairs at Emory University and the University of Wisconsin.   She has been a visiting professor at Yale, NYU,...

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Professor Nourse came to Georgetown after holding chairs at Emory University and the University of Wisconsin.   She has been a visiting professor at Yale, NYU, and the University of Maryland law schools. Her most recent book, In Reckless Hands (Norton 2008), tells the real life drama of the 1942 Supreme Court case striking down state eugenics laws, a case announcing a right to marry and procreate.  Professor Nourse has published widely on constitutional history, the separation of powers, legislation, and the criminal law.   Her latest article on Congress, “A Decision Theory of Statutory Interpretation” will appear in Fall 2012 in the Yale Law Journal.   

Professor Nourse began her career in New York, clerking for Judge Edward Weinfeld and practicing at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.   She left private practice to serve as junior counsel to the Senate-Iran Contra Committee under Senators Rudman and Inouye.   From there, she moved down Pennsylvania Avenue to argue appeals for the Department of Justice in the Reagan-Bush years.   She concluded her career in practice as senior advisor to the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and now-Vice President Biden, on a variety of legislative matters, including the Violence Against Women Act.   The story of her role in that fight is told in the 2009 book by Fred Strebeigh, Equal: Women Reshape American Law (Norton).   Professor Nourse is Director of the law schools’ first Center on Congressional Studies.

Recent Scholarship

Books

  • Victoria F. Nourse, Misreading Law, Misreading Democracy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 2016).    [BOOK]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, William N. Eskridge, Jr. & Abbe R. Gluck, Statutes, Regulation, and Interpretation: Legislation and Administration in the Republic of Statutes (St. Paul, Minn.: West Academic 2014).    [BOOK]

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • Victoria F. Nourse, When Eugenics Became Law, 530 Nature 418 (2016) (reviewing Adam Cohen, Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck (2016)).    [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Response, Overrides: The Super-Study, 92 Tex. L. Rev. See Also 205-216 (2014).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]

Book Chapters and Collected Works

  • Victoria F. Nourse, Self-Defense, in The Oxford Handbook of Criminal Law 607-628 (Markus D. Dubber & Tatjana Hörnle eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014).    [BOOK]
View all scholarship

All Scholarship 2000 - Present

Books

  • Victoria F. Nourse, Misreading Law, Misreading Democracy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 2016).    [BOOK]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, William N. Eskridge, Jr. & Abbe R. Gluck, Statutes, Regulation, and Interpretation: Legislation and Administration in the Republic of Statutes (St. Paul, Minn.: West Academic 2014).    [BOOK]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, In Reckless Hands: Skinner v. Oklahoma and the Near Triumph of American Eugenics (New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 2008).    [BOOK]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Mary Becker, Cynthia Grant Bowman & Kimberly A. Yuracko, Cases and Materials on Feminist Jurisprudence: Taking Women Seriously (St. Paul, Minn.: Thomson/West 3d ed. 2007).    [BOOK]

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • Victoria F. Nourse, When Eugenics Became Law, 530 Nature 418 (2016) (reviewing Adam Cohen, Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck (2016)).    [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Response, Overrides: The Super-Study, 92 Tex. L. Rev. See Also 205-216 (2014).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Elementary Statutory Interpretation: Rethinking Legislative Intent and History, 55 B.C. L. Rev. 1613-1658 (2014).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse & Gregory Shaffer, Empiricism, Experimentalism, and Conditional Theory, 67 SMU L. Rev. 141-184 (2014).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, The Constitution and Legislative History, 17 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 313-363 (2014).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Akhil Reed Amar, David Barron, Hon. C. Boyden Gray & John O. McGinnis, The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies: 2012 National Lawyers Convention: Showcase Panel II: Separation of Powers, 59 Loy. L. Rev. 573-621 (2013).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Decision Theory and Babbitt v. Sweet Home: Skepticism About Norms, Discretion, and the Virtues of Purposivism, 57 St. Louis U. L.J. 909-929 (2013).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, A Decision Theory of Statutory Interpretation: Legislative History by the Rules, 122 Yale L.J. 70-152 (2012).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Misunderstanding Congress: Statutory Interpretation, the Supermajoritarian Difficulty, and the Separation of Powers, 99 Geo. L.J. 1119-1177 (2011).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse & John P. Figura, Toward a Representational Theory of the Executive, 91 B.U. L. Rev. 273-303 (2011) (reviewing Steven G. Calabresi & Christopher S. Yoo, The Unitary Executive: Presidential Power from Washington to Bush (2008)).    [HEIN] [W] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Two Kinds of Plain Meaning, 76 Brook. L. Rev. 997-1005 (2011).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Buck v. Bell: A Constitutional Tragedy from a Lost World, 39 Pepp. L. Rev. 101-117 (2011).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Irasema Garza, Lynn Hecht Schafran, Sally Goldfarb, Patricia Reuss, Hilary Shelton & Helen Neubourne, Panel One: Present at the Creation: Drafting and Passing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), 11 Geo. J. Gender & L. 511-531 (2010).    [HEIN]
  • Victoria F. Nourse & Sarah A. Maguire, The Lost History of Governance and Equal Protection, 58 Duke L.J. 955-1012 (2009).    [HEIN] [W] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse & Greg Shaffer, Varieties of New Legal Realism: Can a New World Order Prompt a New Legal Theory?, 95 Cornell L. Rev. 61-137 (2009).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, A Tale of Two Lochners: The Untold History of Substantive Due Process and the Idea of Fundamental Rights, 97 Cal. L. Rev. 751-799 (2009).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, After the Reasonable Man: Getting Over the Subjectivity/Objectivity Question, 11 New Crim. L. Rev. 33-50 (2008).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Equality's Future: An Introduction, 23 Wis. J.L. Gender & Soc'y 161-167 (2008).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Howard Erlanger, Bryant Garth, Jane Larson, Elizabeth Mertz, & David Wilkins, Foreword, Is It Time for a New Legal Realism?, 2005 Wis. L. Rev. 335-363.    [HEIN] [W]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Rethinking Crime Legislation: History and Harshness, 39 Tulsa L. Rev. 925-939 (2004).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Toward a New Constitutional Anatomy, 56 Stan. L. Rev. 835-900 (2004).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Upending Status: A Comment on Switching, Inequality, and the Idea of the Reasonable Person, 2 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 361-375 (2004) (reviewing Cynthia Lee, Murder and the Reasonable Man: Passion and Fear in the Criminal Courtroom (2003)).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Reconceptualizing Criminal Law Defenses, 151 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1691-1746 (2003).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Hearts and Minds: Understanding the New Culpability, 6 Buff. Crim. L. Rev. 361-388 (2002).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Law's Constitution: A Relational Critique, 17 Wis. Women's L.J. 23-56 (2002).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Victoria F. Nourse & Jane S. Schacter, The Politics of Legislative Drafting: A Congressional Case Study, 77 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 575-624 (2002).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Self-Defense and Subjectivity, 68 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1235-1308 (2001).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, The "Normal" Successes and Failures of Feminism and the Criminal Law, 75 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 951-978 (2000).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

Book Chapters and Collected Works

  • Victoria F. Nourse, Self-Defense, in The Oxford Handbook of Criminal Law 607-628 (Markus D. Dubber & Tatjana Hörnle eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014).    [BOOK]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, The Accidental Feminist, in Transcending the Boundaries of Law: Generations of Feminism and Legal Theory 339-351 (Martha Albertson Fineman ed., New York: Routledge 2011).    [BOOK]
  • Victoria F. Nourse, Feminism: Legal Aspects, Entry, in 2 Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice 707-714 (Joshua Dressler ed., New York: Macmillan Reference USA 2d ed. 2002).    [BOOK]
Recent scholarship

In the News

"12 top law scholars say Donald Trump could defy the Constitution his first day in power," coverage by Money.Mic, December 17, 2016, quoting Professor Victoria Nourse.

"5 Reasons Why Georgetown Crushed 2014," coverage in In the Capital, December 8, 2014, featuring U.S. Rep. John Delaney, L'88, Professor Victoria Nourse, and Pamela Harris, former visiting professor and judge.

 Professor Victoria Nourse's appointment as counsel to the Vice President drew coverage in the National Law Journal and In the Capital, August 6, 2014. 

"Senate Unlikely to End Filibusters For Supreme Court, Professor Says," a piece in The National Law Journal, Febuary 3, 2014, featuring Professor Victoria Nourse.

Professor Victoria Nourse was interviewed on Aljazeera America's Inside Story, November 21, 2013.

All News

"12 top law scholars say Donald Trump could defy the Constitution his first day in power," coverage by Money.Mic, December 17, 2016, quoting Professor Victoria Nourse.

"5 Reasons Why Georgetown Crushed 2014," coverage in In the Capital, December 8, 2014, featuring U.S. Rep. John Delaney, L'88, Professor Victoria Nourse, and Pamela Harris, former visiting professor and judge.

 Professor Victoria Nourse's appointment as counsel to the Vice President drew coverage in the National Law Journal and In the Capital, August 6, 2014. 

"Senate Unlikely to End Filibusters For Supreme Court, Professor Says," a piece in The National Law Journal, Febuary 3, 2014, featuring Professor Victoria Nourse.

Professor Victoria Nourse was interviewed on Aljazeera America's Inside Story, November 21, 2013.

Recent News