Author: Jackson Sasser


Armistead M. Dobie (1881–1962)

Armistead M. Dobie served as the second dean of the University of Virginia School of Law (1932–1939), a judge of the Western District of Virginia (1939), and a judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (1939–1956). Born in Norfolk, he was educated at the University of Virginia and briefly practiced law in Saint Louis, Missouri, before joining the faculty of his alma mater. During World War I (1914–1918), he served twice in France. After returning to the University of Virginia, he introduced the case method of instruction and authored the Handbook of Federal Jurisdiction and Procedure (1928). A talented speaker with a shrill voice, Dobie was a popular presence at the university, as a witty lecturer and a speaker at football pep rallies. His time on the federal bench was marked by a ruling in favor of true equality between black and white schools in Corbin et al. v. County School Board of Pulaski County, Virginia, et al. (1949). In 1952, he was one of three judges that upheld racial segregation in public education in Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County. A long battle with depression forced Dobie’s retirement in 1956; he died in Charlottesville in 1962.