Steve  Sanders

Steve Sanders

Associate Professor of Law; Affiliated Faculty, IU Department of Gender Studies; Affiliated Faculty, Kinsey Institute; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science

  • A.B., Indiana University
  • J.D., University of Michigan
  • 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
Selected Works
  • Constitutional Law, especially 14th Amendment
  • US Supreme Court
  • LGBT legal and political issues
  • Appellate litigation