John V. Orth

William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of Law Emeritus

(919) 962-8517
5116 Van Hecke-Wettach Hall

Areas of Expertise

  • Legal History
  • Property Law and Real Estate
  • Trusts & Estates


John V. Orth joined the Carolina Law faculty in 1978 and serves as the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Law. He teaches first-year Property, Trusts & Estates, and Legal History. Orth is the author of six books, three of them published by Oxford University Press, and ninety articles and book chapters. His writings cover a wide array of topics including labor law, constitutional law (both federal and state), legal history, wills and trusts, and basic property law. His works have been cited by federal and state courts, including the United States Supreme Court and the North Carolina Supreme Court. He has extensive contacts with Australian law professors and has published several articles comparing American and Australian law.

Orth has a law degree from the Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. After completing his studies, he clerked for Judge John Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3d Circuit. While teaching, he has maintained contact with the practice of law by consulting on questions concerning property, constitutional law, and wills and trusts.


  • Ph.D., Harvard University (1977)
  • M.A., Harvard University (1975)
  • J.D., Harvard University (1974)
  • A.B., Oberlin College (1969)

Selected Publications

"Catch a Falling Star": The Bluebook and Citing Blackstone’s Commentaries, 2020 U. ILL. L. REV. ONLINE 125 (2020).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | Hein | BEPress | Document Link

Balancing Justice Needs and Private Property in Constitutional Takings Provisions: A Comparative Assessment of India, Australia, and the United States, 42 FORDHAM INT'L L.J. 999 (2019).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein | BEPress

Unconstitutional Emoluments: The Emoluments Clauses of the North Carolina Constitution, 97 N.C. L. REV. 1727 (2019).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | Hein | BEPress

Blackstone (M. Dubber & C. Tomlins eds.), in OXFORD HANDBOOK OF LEGAL HISTORY (Oxford U. Press, 2018).
K150 .O94 2018

Recent Developments in North Carolina Property Law: Where is the Supreme Court of North Carolina, 95 N.C. L. REV. 1561 (2017).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | Hein | BEPress

The Honoré-Waldron Thesis: A Comparison of the Blend of Ideal-Typic Categories of Property in American, Chinese and Australian Land Law (with P. Bable & C. Weng), 91 TUL. L. REV. 739 (2017).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein

Torrens Title in North Carolina--Maybe a Hundred Years is Long Enough, 39 CAMPBELL L. REV. 271 (2017).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | Hein | BEPress

The Past is Never Dead: Magna Carta in North Carolina, 94 N.C. L. REV. 1635 (2016).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | Hein | BEPress

"Without Precedential Value"--When the Justices of the North Carolina Supreme Court are Equally Divided, 93 N.C. L. REV. 1719 (2015).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | Hein | BEPress

Interest Follows Principal: Why North Carolina Should Pay Interest on Unclaimed Personal Property, 37 CAMPBELL L. REV. 321 (2015).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | Hein | BEPress | Document Link

SSRN Author Page

In the Media