Associate Professor of Law; Affiliated Faculty, IU Department of Gender Studies; Affiliated Faculty, Kinsey Institute; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone (812) 855-1775
- Location Baier Hall 263
- A.B., Indiana University 1984
- J.D., University of Michigan 2005
- Recipient of IU Trustees Teaching Award, 2017
- Has litigated in federal and state courts at all levels, including briefs and oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court
- Former attorney with the global law firm Mayer Brown LLP
- Clerked for the Hon. Terence T. Evans, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- Magna cum laude graduate, University of Michigan Law School
Steve Sanders teaches Constitutional Law, Family Law, and Constitutional Litigation (the law of Section 1983 actions for constitutional torts). His scholarship focuses on questions arising out of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process, with a special focus on issues affecting LGBT persons and same-sex couples. His teaching has been recognized with an IU Trustees Teaching Award, and by vote of the law school’s students as “Outstanding Interactive Professor.” For 2016-17 he was designated the Henry H.H. Remak Distinguished Scholar by IU’s Institute for Advanced Study.
Sanders began his career as an administrative staff member at IU Bloomington, serving as assistant to the chancellor and assistant dean of the College of Arts Sciences. He then earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan, magna cum laude, where he was an articles editor on the law review and received the Bates Memorial Scholarship, the law school's highest award to graduating seniors. He clerked for the Hon. Terence T. Evans of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Sanders practiced for four years with the Supreme Court and appellate litigation group at Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago, where he became the firm's most-junior attorney to present a U.S. Supreme Court argument in a paid client matter. Before coming to the Law School in 2013, he taught at the University of Chicago Law School as a lecturer and at the University of Michigan Law School as a visiting assistant professor.
In addition to his scholarship and teaching, Sanders has participated in groundbreaking litigation. On behalf of the Human Rights Campaign, he co-authored an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which established nationwide marriage equality for gays and lesbians. A case he litigated in the Indiana Court of Appeals in 2013 led to the first published opinion by any court in the United States holding that a spouse’s gender transition did not affect the validity of an existing marriage.
Sanders writes regularly for The Huffington Post, the American Constitution Society Blog, and SCOTUSBlog. He has appeared on MSNBC and public radio’s To the Point, provides commentary and analysis for the radio show Bloomberg Law, and frequently is quoted by print and online news media on matters of constitutional law and the Supreme Court.
In the media
- Appeared on "Ideological Divides End the Term (Audio)," Bloomberg Law (6/29/2018)
- Quoted in "IU experts: No broad impact for ruling in case on same-sex wedding cake," Bloomington Herald-Times (6/5/2018)
- Quoted in "How the Supreme Court bakery case could impact the Religious Freedom Restoration Act 'fix'," The Indianapolis Star (6/5/2018)
- Quoted in "Gay couple ditched at an intersection after their Lyft driver spots them kissing in the backseat," The Daily Mail (5/19/2018)
- Quoted in "Lyft driver in Indianapolis orders gay couple out of his car after they kiss," The Indianapolis Star (5/18/2018)
- Quoted in "Federal courts ask: What is the meaning of 'sex'?," The Christian Science Monitor (3/27/2018)
- Quoted in "Birthright citizenship applies to children of undocumented immigrants," Evansville Courier & Press (1/18/2018)
- Quoted in "Can an Indiana baker legally refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple?," The Indianapolis Star (12/5/2017)
- Authored "Even the Bernini of buttercream has to serve gay couples," The New York Times (12/3/2017)
- Making It Up: Lessons for Equal Protection Doctrine from the Use and Abuse of Hypothesized Purposes in the Marriage Equality Litigation, 68 HASTINGS L.J. 657 (2017).
- Race, Restructurings, and Equal Protection Doctrine Through the Lens of Schuette v. BAMN, 81 BROOK. L. REV. 1393 (2016).
- RFRAs and Reasonableness, 91 IND. L.J. 243 (2016).
- Book Review: Somin, Ilya, Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter, 1 J. CIVIC LITERACY (July 2014).
- Mini-DOMAs As Political Process Failures: The Case for Heightened Scrutiny of State Anti-Gay Marriage Amendments, 109 NW. U.L. REV. ONLINE 12 (2014).
- India, Nepal, and Pakistan: A Unique South Asian Constitutional Discourse on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (with Sean Dickson), in SOCIAL DIFFERENCE AND CONSTITUTIONALISM IN PAN-ASIA (Susan Williams, ed.) (Cambridge University Press 2014).
- Is the Full Faith and Credit Clause Still "Irrelevant" to Same-Sex Marriage?: Toward a Reconsideration of the Conventional Wisdom, 89 IND. L.J. 95 (2014).
- Affirmative Action and Academic Freedom: Why the Supreme Court Should Continue Deferring to Faculty Judgments About the Value of Educational Diversity, 1 IND. J.L. SOC. EQ. Art. 2 (2013).
- The Constitutional Right to (Keep Your) Same-Sex Marriage, 110 MICH. L.REV. 1421 (2012).
- Interstate Recognition of Parent-Child Relationships: The Limits of the State Interests Paradigm and the Role of Due Process, 2011 U. CHI. LEGAL F. 233 (2011).
- Constitutional Law, especially 14th Amendment
- US Supreme Court
- LGBT legal and political issues
- Appellate litigation