Paul A. Lombardo

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Paul A. Lombardo is an American legal historian known for his work on the legacy of eugenics and sterilization in the United States. Lombardo’s foundational research corrected the historical record of the 1927 U.S. Supreme Court case of Buck v. Bell. He found Carrie Buck’s school grades[1] and the grades of her child Vivian.[2] He was the last person to interview her, and he discovered the pictures of all three generations of the Buck family.[3] In 2002, he sponsored and paid for a memorial plaque that was installed in Buck’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.[4][5]


Professor Lombardo in 2011, speaking at a podium.
Professor Lombardo in 2011

Lombardo received his A.B. from Rockhurst College (Kansas City, Mo.), his M.A. from Loyola University of Chicago and both his Ph.D. and J.D. from the University of Virginia.


He joined the faculty at Georgia State University College of Law in 2006, where he is currently a Regents Professor and the Bobby Lee Cook Professor of Law.[6]

He is coeditor of Fletcher's Clinical Ethics, 3rd edition (2005).[7] His book Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court and Buck v. Bell (2008)[8] was recognized at the 2009 Library of Virginia Literary Awards;[9] it also earned him designation as a 2009 Georgia Author of the Year.[10] It has just been reissued in a new, updated edition (2022).[11] Lombardo also published an edited volume: A Century of Eugenics in America: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era (2010).[12]

Lombardo is an elected member of the American Law Institute,[13] a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and has been a consultant for the institutes of the National Institutes of Health. He served as a committee member for the Institute of Medicine[14] as well as the National Human Research Protection Advisory Committee.[15]

From 2011 to 2016, Lombardo served as a senior advisor to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.[16] He worked on three Commission reports: Ethically Impossible: STD Research in Guatemala: 1946-1948 (2011), Moral Science: Protecting Participants in Human Subjects Research (2012) and Privacy and Progress in Whole Genome Sequencing (2012).

He testified as an expert witness in Lowe v. Atlas,[17] a landmark federal genetic discrimination case, and his work was recently cited in a U.S. Supreme Court opinion, (Kristina Box, Commissioner, Indiana Department of Health, et al. v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc., et al (587 U. S. ____ (2019)).[18]

In 2021 he received the Jay Healey Health Law Professor of the Year, from the American Society of Law, Medicine, & Ethics, and in 2019 he was named a Fulbright Specialist.[19]

In 2023, Lombardo was named Distinguished Professor of Bioethics and Law, by the Sindh Institute of Medical Sciences in Karachi, Pakistan, for his contribution to teaching there over the past two decades[20] and recognized as a Hastings Center Fellow, “a group of more than 200 individuals of outstanding accomplishment whose work has informed scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science, and technology.”[21]

In recent years he has lectured in England, Austria, Italy, Russia, Pakistan and Canada, and at dozens of colleges and universities in the U.S. He is regularly contacted as an expert by the media; recent interviews appeared on the BBC,[22] USA Today,[23] New York Times,[24][25][26] Los Angeles Times,[27] San Francisco Chronicle,[28] Washington Post,[29] National Public Radio, the CBS Evening News,[30] and Anderson Cooper 360.[31]

Lombardo consulted for several films, including Belly of the Beast (2020),[32] The Lynchburg Story (1993),[33] Race: the Power of an Illusion Part I,[34] The Difference Between Us (2003) and The Golden Door (2006).[35] He was a featured commentator and historical consultant on the PBS program American Experience (“The Eugenics Crusade,” 2018,)[36] NPR's Hidden Brain (“Emma, Carrie, Vivian: How A Family Became A Test Case For Forced Sterilizations,” 2018),[37] and WNYC's RadioLab ("G: Unfit," 2019).[38]


  1. ^ Lombardo, Paul (2022) [2008]. Three Generations, No Imbeciles. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 105.
  2. ^ Gould, Stephen Jay (July 1984). "Carrie Buck's Daughter". Natural History Magazine. 93: 14–18.
  3. ^ Lombardo, Paul A. (March–April 2003). "Facing Carrie Buck". Hastings Center Report. 33 (2): 14–17.
  4. ^ Coveney, Eoin. "Finding Carrie Buck | American Experience | PBS". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  5. ^ Santos, Carlos (May 3, 2002). "A Sad Reminder: State honors state's 1st eugenics victim". Richmond Times-Dispatch. pp. B1-2.
  6. ^ "Paul A. Lombardo". College of Law. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  7. ^ "Fletcher's Introduction to Clinical Ethics". Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  8. ^ Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court and Buck v. Bell(2008)
  9. ^ Library of Virginia Literary Awards
  10. ^ Georgia Author of the Year Award "45th GAYA". Archived from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-11-05. Creative Non-Fiction History: Paul A. Lombardo, Three Generations No Imbeciles
  11. ^ Lombardo, Paul A. (February 2022). Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell. ISBN 978-1421443188.
  12. ^ A Century of Eugenics in America: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era (2010).
  13. ^ Institute, The American Law. "Members". American Law Institute. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  14. ^ Institute of Medicine Report[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ NHRPAC Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues "The President's Council on Bioethics". Archived from the original on 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  17. ^ Scheinman, Ted. "The 'Devious Defecator' and the New Frontiers of Privacy". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  18. ^ Supreme Court of the United States
  19. ^ Institute, The American Law. "Paul Lombardo Honored at the ASLME Health Law Professors Conference". American Law Institute. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  20. ^ "Lombardo Honored for Enhancing Academic Bioethics Program in Pakistan - Georgia State University News - Center For Law, Health & Society, College of Law -". Georgia State News Hub. 2023-03-07. Retrieved 2023-03-27.
  21. ^ "12 Outstanding Scholars Recognized for Work in Ethics of Disability, Transplantation, Mental Health Care, and Other Areas". The Hastings Center. Retrieved 2023-03-27.
  22. ^ "Sterilisation: North Carolina grapples with legacy". BBC News. 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  23. ^ Hardin, Paul A. Lombardo and Peter L. "Compensate eugenic sterilization victims: Column". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  24. ^ Altman, Lawrence K.; M.D (2013-04-01). "Of Medical Giants, Accolades and Feet of Clay". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  25. ^ Villarosa, Linda (2022-06-08). "The Long Shadow of Eugenics in America". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-03-27.
  26. ^ Morris, Amanda (2021-07-11). "'You Just Feel Like Nothing': California to Pay Sterilization Victims". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-03-27.
  27. ^ ADAM BEAM (2021-07-07). "California poised to pay compensation to victims of forced sterilization". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  28. ^ Said, Carolyn (2022-02-11). "'There's no amount of money that can take away how I felt': California pays reparations to survivors of state-sanctioned sterilizations". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  29. ^ "Clarence Thomas tried to link abortion to eugenics. Seven historians told The Post he's wrong". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  30. ^ "Sterilization victim "raped by the state of NC"". Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  31. ^ " - Transcripts". Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  32. ^ "Belly of the Beast | Films | PBS". Independent Lens. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  33. ^ "Academic Video Online". Alexander Street. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  34. ^ "RACE - The Power of an Illusion . Credits | PBS". Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  35. ^ Crialese, Emanuele (2006-09-22), Nuovomondo (Drama, History, Romance), Rai Cinema, Respiro, Memento Films Production, retrieved 2023-01-31
  36. ^ "The Eugenics Crusade | American Experience | PBS". Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  37. ^ Hidden Brain
  38. ^ "G: Unfit". Radiolab Podcasts | WNYC Studios. Retrieved 2023-05-05.

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