David M. O’Brien

David O'BrienDavid M. O’Brien is the Leone Reaves and George W. Spicer Professor at the University of Virginia.

Dr. O’Brien has been a Judicial Fellow and Research Associate at the Supreme Court of the U.S., held Fulbright Teaching and Research Awards at Oxford University, England, the University of Bologna, Italy, and in Japan, and was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York, and Visiting Professor at Institut d’Etudes Politique Universite Lumiere-Lyon 2. He served as a commissioner on the U.S.–Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Exchange and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission.

He is the author of numerous books and over 100 articles, including Storm Center: The Supreme Court in American Politics (11th ed. W.W. Norton), which received the ABA’s Silver Gavel Award; a two-volume casebook, Constitutional Law and Politics ( 10th ed., W.W. Norton); and an annual Supreme Court Watch (1991 – 2015, W.W. Norton); Animal Sacrifice & Religious Freedom: The Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah (University of Kansas Press), and To Dream of Dreams: Religious Freedom and Constitutional Politics in Postwar Japan (University of Hawaii Press), among other books . In addition, he has edited several books and co-authored others, including The Judicial Process: Law, Courts, and Judicial Politics (C.Q. Press), Government by the People (22 nd ed., Prentice Hall),  and Judicial Independence: Critical Perspectives from Around the World ( University of Virginia Press).


Ph.D. University of California (Santa Barbara)
(434) 924-3474
S164 Gibson Hall 1540 Jefferson Park Ave
Office Hours
Thurs. from 12:00-1:00 and Tues. 12:15- 1:00 by appointment