Miller Center

Barbara Perry

Portrait of Barbara Perry

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Phone: 434-243-1123

Barbara A. Perry, co-chair of the Miller Center Oral History Program and University of Virginia Professor, is a well-known scholar of the U.S. Supreme Court and the American presidency. She is also an authority on the Kennedy presidency. Previously, she was the Carter Glass Professor of Government and founding director of the Center for Civic Renewal at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. In 1994-95 she was the judicial fellow at the U.S. Supreme Court, where she received the Tom C. Clark Award as the outstanding fellow that year. Her duties included researching and drafting speeches for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. Perry was the senior fellow at the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center in 2006-07 and now serves as a non-resident fellow there. She is a frequent media commentator on public affairs for international and national newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and Internet, including CNN, C-SPAN, MS-NBC, BBC, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, New York Times, Washington Post,andUSA Today.  Perry is a regular guest on Wisconsin Public Radio’s At Issue.

Professor Perry earned a Ph.D. in government from the University of Virginia, an M.A. in politics and philosophy from Oxford University, and a B.A. in political science, with highest honors, from the University of Louisville.

View her curriculum vitae.

Miller Center Projects

At the Miller Center, Barbara Perry is collaborating with Professor Russell Riley, chair of the Presidential Oral History Program, on the oral history of George W. Bush’s presidency.  They are conducting research on and interviews of Bush administration officials.


Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch, (W.W. Norton, 2014).

The Supremes: An Introduction to the United States Supreme Court Justices, 2nd ed.(Peter Lang, 2009).

The Michigan Affirmative Action Cases(University Press of Kansas, 2007).

Jacqueline Kennedy: First Lady of the New Frontier(University Press of Kansas, 2004).

Freedom and the Court: Civil Rights and Liberties in the United States, 8th edition, with Henry J. Abraham (University Press of Kansas, 2003).

The Priestly Tribe: The Supreme Court’s Image in the American Mind(Praeger, 1999; winner of a 2001 Choice Award).

Civil Rights and Liberties Under the Constitution, 6th ed., with M. Glenn Abernathy (University of South Carolina Press, 1993).

A “Representative” Supreme Court? The Impact of Race, Religion, and Gender on Appointments(Greenwood, 1991).

Unfounded Fears: Myths and Realities of a ConstitutionalConvention, with Paul J. Weber (Greenwood Press, 1989).

Forthcoming Books

Catholics and the Supreme Court, Georgetown University Press.


A Female Trinity:  Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan on the U.S. Supreme Court,” University of Virginia Center for Politics, Crystal Ball, On-line journal, May 13, 2010.   

Justice John Paul Stevens’s Supreme Court Odyssey: From Gerald Ford Republican to Barack Obama Democrat,” University of Virginia Center for Politics, Crystal Ball, On-line journal, April 15, 2010.

Supremely Representative:  Should the Supreme Court Look Like America?” University of Virginia Center for Politics, Crystal Ball, On-line journal, June 4, 2009. 

“‘C-SPAN broadcast, Barbara Perry delivers lecture "The Supreme Court Appointment Process" at the U.S. Supreme Court, April 20, 2010. Perry is introduced by Chief Justice John Roberts

Perry interviewed for USA Today article: "Short list for court picks shows ties to Obama"

Washington Post interview on Catholic Majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, June 20, 2009

CNN Politics.COM: "Sotomayor to face scrutiny over sensitive issues, rulings"

CNN Politics.COM: "Sotomayor would be part of court’s Catholic shift"

CNN Politics.COM: "Why Michelle Obama inspires women around the globe"

Barbara Perry to Discuss Jackie Kennedy’s Influence at UVa Miller Center Forum

Virginia Festival of the Book Program: "The Campus Client: Legal Issues in Higher Education"

Interview on National Public Radio: "A History of Diversity on the High Court"

University of Virginia Newsmakers: Jacqueline Kennedy Discussion

University of Virginia Arts and Sciences Interview: "Judging Jackie Kennedy, Barbara Perry’s new book examines the enigma of a fascinating first lady"

Richmond Times Dispatch: "College Experts Anticipate Obama’s Inaugural Address"

Boston Herald: "Edward Kennedy at rest with brothers, vets"

Sotomayor confirmation hearings, Wisconsin Public Radio "At Issue", July 16, 2009

Legacy of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Wisconsin Public Radio "At Issue", Aug. 27, 2009

Perry Interviewed by Swiss TV on the replacement of retiring Justice John Paul Stevens

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