- (812) 855-1775
- Baier Hall 263
- 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, Constitutional Litigation (the law of Section 1983 actions for constitutional torts), Conflict of Laws, and seminars on constitutional interpretation and judicial review. 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 LGBTQ persons and same-sex couples. His work has been cited by, among others, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, federal district court opinions, and briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous other courts. He has been designated a Henry H.H. Remak Distinguished Scholar by IU's Institute for Advanced Study, and has been recognized with an IU Trustees Teaching Award and by vote of the Law School's students as "Outstanding Interactive Professor."
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 Indiana, he taught at the University of Chicago Law School as a lecturer and at Michigan Law 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. He has represented the ACLU, the American Association of University Professors, and groups of scholars and scientists as amici curiae in the U.S. Supreme Court, two federal courts of appeals, and three state supreme courts.
Sanders's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and SCOTUSBlog, among many other print and online outlets. He has appeared on MSNBC and public radio's To the Point, is a regular legal analyst for Bloomberg Radio, and is frequently quoted by print and online news media about matters of constitutional law, LGBTQ rights, and the Supreme Court.
In the media
- Quoted in "IU experts recall Ginsburg's influence, criticize rush to replace," The Herald Times (9/19/2020)
- Quoted in "Why doesn't Indiana punish violators of its coronavirus mask mandate?," Indiana Public Media (8/20/2020)
- Quoted in "Does governor have authority to enforce mask mandate? Legal experts weigh in," Indiana Public Media (8/7/2020)
- Quoted in "How SCOTUS ruling could affect cases of educators fired from Roncalli over same-sex marriages," The Indianapolis Star (7/8/2020)
- Quoted in "Policy may bar transgender students from Catholic schools in central and southern Indiana," The Indianapolis Star (6/24/2020)
- Appeared in a podcast titled "A watershed moment for gay rights," Bloomberg (6/19/2020)
- Interviewed in "Supreme court says gay, transgender workers protected by federal law forbidding discrimination," The Washington Post (6/15/2020)
- Quoted in "Can a business require you to wear a face mask to enter in Indiana? What you should know.," The Indianapolis Star (5/29/2020)
- Quoted in "Trump faces roadblocks with threat to adjourn Congress," The Hill (4/16/2020)
- Quoted in "Trump threatens to adjourn Congress during a pandemic because Congress hasn't confirmed one of his nominees," Business Insider (4/15/2020)
- Appeared in a podcast titled "Supreme Court appears divided in abortion case," Bloomberg (3/5/2020)
- Wrote an op-ed titled "Ball State erred in handling of professor," Indianapolis Business Journal (2/27/2020)
- Quoted in "Goshen College didn't want her coaching because she's gay. Now she's in the Super Bowl," USA Today (1/28/2020) and in The Indianapolis Star, South Bend Tribune
- Wrote an op-ed titled "Let's try treating college students like adults," Indianapolis Business Journal (1/24/2020)
- Spoke in a podcast "Justices struggle with international child custody," Bloomberg (12/23/2019)
- Wrote an op-ed titled "Mayor Pete, McKinsey, and dishonesty on the left," Indianapolis Business Journal (12/20/2019)
- Referred to in "Panel to continue conversation about Farmers' Market," Indiana Public Media (12/6/2019)
- Wrote an article titled "We have a living constitution. Do we need the ERA?," Indianapolis Business Journal (11/22/2019)
- Quoted in "University says a professor’s views are racist, sexist and homophobic — but it can’t fire him," The Washington Post (11/22/2019)
- Quoted in "The professor's views are loathsome, stupid, and ignorant, the provost said. But he won't be fired," The Chronicle of Higher Education (11/22/2019)
- Wrote an op-ed titled "In the marketplace of ideas, does truth really prevail?," Indianapolis Business Journal (10/25/2019)
- Wrote an op-ed titled "Those college students who used the n-word shouldn't have been arrested," The New York Times (10/25/2019)
- Wrote an op-ed titled "Will the courts protect LGBT rights at work?," Indianapolis Business Journal (9/27/2019)
- Quoted in "Justice Department backs Indianapolis Archdiocese gay teacher firing," The Indianapolis Star (subscription) (9/27/2019)
- Quoted in "With Ruth Bader Ginsburg's health in the spotlight, attention turns to abortion foe waiting in the wings," CNBC (8/30/2019)
- Quoted in "Why Indianapolis archdiocese wants gay teacher's lawsuit dismissed," The Indianapolis Star (subscription) (8/22/2019)
- Appeared in a podcast "Civil rights rift at DOJ forces employer reckoning," Bloomberg (8/22/2019)
- Spoke in a podcast "Arizona files novel opioid lawsuit at Supreme Court," Bloomberg (8/1/2019)
- Interviewed in a podcast "Trump beats another emoluments lawsuit," Bloomberg (7/11/2019)
- Interviewed in a podcast "Trump can't implement military trans ban yet," Bloomberg News (3/22/2019)
- Quoted in "Top Indiana companies are increasingly weighing in on the key issues of the day," Indianapolis Business Journal (3/15/2019)
- Quoted in "Social media: A great antidote to bigotry," Euro Weekly News (3/7/2019)
- Quoted in "Colts, Pacers, NCAA, IMS testified for tough Indiana hate crimes bill. Now they're quiet.," The Indianapolis Star (3/1/2019)
- Quoted in "Indiana tax preparer turns away same-sex couple, thanks to law signed by Mike Pence," Salon (2/26/2019)
- Quoted in "Christian tax preparer turns away lesbian couple on religious grounds," The Washington Post (2/20/2019)
- Quoted in "An Indiana tax service turned away a gay couple. Both sides claim discrimination.," The Indianapolis Star (2/18/2019)
- Quoted in "Tax business denies service to Indiana gay couple," Terre Haute Tribune-Star (2/17/2019)
- Quoted in "Supreme Court allows transgender military ban to be enforced," The Hill (1/22/2019)
- Quoted in "Are school trips to Ark Encounter legal? Ken Ham and group wage battle," Louisville Courier-Journal (1/19/2019)
- Dignity and Social Meaning: Obergefell, Windsor, and Lawrence as Constitutional Dialogue, 87 FORDLAM L. REV. 2069 (2019).
- The Cultural Politics of Dan Quayle and Mike Pence, 52 IND. L. REV. 69 (2019).
- Religious Arguments, Religious Purposes, and the Gay and Lesbian Rights Cases, 17 FIRST AM. L. REV. 237 (2018).
- 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).
- Pavan v. Smith: Equality for Gays and Lesbians in Being Married, Not Just in Getting Married, AMER. CONST. SOC. S. CT. REV. 2016-2017
- 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