Catherine J. Ross

Portrait of Catherine Ross
Lyle T. Alverson Professor of Law
The George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
[email protected]

Professor Ross is Lyle T. Alverson Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. She specializes in constitutional law (with particular emphasis on the First Amendment) and family law. Professor Ross' book A Right to Lie? Presidents, Other Liars, and the First Amendment (University of Pennsylvania Press) was published in November 2021 and has been featured at events at the Cato Institute, the National Constitution Center and other venues. Her last book, Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students' First Amendment Rights (Harvard University Press, 2015) was named the Best Book on the First Amendment by Concurring Opinions’ First Amendment News; it also won the Critics’ Choice Book Award from the American Education Studies Association. Professor Ross is a co-author of Contemporary Family Law (West Academic), First Edition (2006) through the latest Fifth Edition (2019).

In 2015-2016, she was a Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton from 2008-2009. In 2015-2016 Professor Ross was a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Boston College (where she held joint appointments in the School of Education and the History Department) and St. John’s School of Law in New York. 

An elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Professor Ross was the primary author of the ABA’s landmark report on America’s Children at Risk (1993) (with the Hon. A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.) and is former chair of the ABA’s Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children. She has served on a wide variety of ABA committees.  Professor Ross is a former chair of the Section on Law and Communitarianism of the Association of American Law Schools.

She holds her BA, PhD (in History), and JD from Yale University where Professor Ross was a member of the first class of women to graduate from Yale College.

Before attending Yale Law School, she was on the faculty of the Yale Child Study Center (Medical School) and the Bush Center on Child Development and Social Policy at Yale. 

Prior to entering legal academia, Professor Ross was a litigator at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York, where she won major impact litigation on behalf of the city’s homeless population. 


Curriculum Vitae     Publications


BA, PhD, JD, Yale University

In the News

"Fla. Law Made School Book Bans Easier. So One Man Challenged the Bible"

April 28, 2022

Catherine J. Ross was quoted by the Washington Post regarding Florida legislation that allows parents to challenge materials in school libraries as inappropriate.

"Personally, I Prefer Having Fewer Nazis on Twitter"

April 28, 2022

Catherine J. Ross was quoted in Slate regarding Elon Musk’s potential changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies.

"Changing America: Schools, Censorship, And The Law"

April 25, 2022
Catherine J. Ross appeared in a video segment for The Hill to talk about what government bodies can do to limit what students can be taught in public schools.

"Schools, Censorship, and the Law"

March 21, 2022

Catherine J. Ross was featured in a video from The Hill about how the First Amendment is applied to school classrooms.

"Capitol Rioter Gets Lighter Sentence for Cooperating with January 6 Committee"

February 21, 2022

Catherine J. Ross was quoted by CBS News regarding sentencing for a Jan. 6 rioter.