Steven K. Green

Steven K. Green

Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law; Director of the Center for Religion, Law & Democracy

  • JD, University of Texas
  • PhD, University of North Carolina
  • MA, University of North Carolina
  • BA, Texas Christian University, Phi Beta Kappa

Faculty Profile

Current Employment

Professor of Law, (2006- ) Willamette University College of Law, 245 Winter St., SE, Salem, OR 97301, (503) 370-6405. Teaching areas: Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Criminal Law, Lawmaking Process, Legal History, Administrative Law

Associate Professor of Law, (2001-2005), Willamette University College of Law

Director of the Center for Religion, Law and Democracy, Willamette University


Doctor of Philosophy in American Constitutional and Religious History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 1997.

Master of Arts in American Religious and Constitutional History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 1987.

Doctor of Jurisprudence, The University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas. 1981.
Executive Editor, The Urban Law Review
American Jurisprudence Award
Law School Counsel Award (outstanding public service)

Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas. Magna Cum Laude1978. Phi Beta Kappa
Mortar Board Honorary Society
Departmental Honors in History

Additional graduate study at Duke Law School and Duke Divinity School, 1986-1988.

Additional Teaching Experience

Guest Lecturer, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington College of Law of American University. Regular guest lecturer on church-state and First Amendment issues.

Visiting Assistant Professor, Vermont Law School, South Royalton, Vermont, June 1988 to December 1991. Taught courses in Constitutional Law/Church and State, Wills and Estates, Criminal Law, Lawyering (civil procedure, ethics and jurisprudence), Appellate Advocacy, and Legal Writing and Analysis.

Graduate Teaching Fellow, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, August 1986 to May 1988. Lectured, led discussion groups, and graded papers and examinations in undergraduate history courses in American survey (both sections), American constitutional history, and military history.

Previous Legal Employment

General Counsel and Director of Policy, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, 518 C Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002; (202) 466-3234, January 1992-July 2001.
Directed legal and legislative programs for national public interest organization committed to preserving religious liberty and separation of church and state; oversaw litigation and appeals; filed party and amicus briefs in U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts; reviewed and drafted proposed legislation; testified before Congress, state legislatures, and various government committees, agencies and boards.

Trial Court Magistrate, Alaska Court System, Palmer, Alaska, February 1984 to July 1985. Judicial officer for the District Court for the Matanuska-Sustina Borough. Presided over misdemeanor jury and non-jury trials as well as felony criminal hearings, small claims trials and traffic trials. Also served as Superior Court Master for juvenile, child in need-of-aid, probate, and domestic matters.

Staff Attorney, Texas Court of Appeals, Houston, Texas, August 1981 to June 1982. Served as judicial law clerk for Associate Justice George Miller; performed legal research, wrote legal memoranda and opinions.

Significant Legal Experience

  • Presided over approximately 65 jury and 120 non-jury misdemeanor trials and numerous evidentiary hearings as Alaska District Court Magistrate.
  • Co-Counsel in Simmons-Harris v. Zelman before the U.S. Supreme Court; assisted on other appeals to the Supreme Court, including Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe, Mitchell v. Helms, Agostini v. Felton, Rosenberger v. Rector, and Kiryas Joel School Dist. v. Grumet.
  • Served as co-counsel in various challenges to private school vouchers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Vermont, Maine, Florida, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Arizona and Illinois. Also co-counsel in Alabama "Student-Initiated Prayer" and "Ten Commandments" cases as well as in other school prayer cases.
  • Authored amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court in: McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005); Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (2004); Locke v. Davey (2003); Good News Club v. Milford (2001); Santa Fe Ind. School Dist. v. Doe (2000); Mitchell v. Helms (1999); University of Wisconsin v. Southworth (1999); Finley v. N.E.A. (1998); Agostini v. Felton (1997); City of Boerne v. Flores (1997); Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia (1995); Capitol Square Review v. Pinette (1995); Board of Education of Kiryas Joel v. Grumet (1994); Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District (1993); Lamb's Chapel v. Center Morishes Union School District (1993); Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah (1993); ISKCON v. Lee (1992); Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989).
  • Authored party and amicus briefs before the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and District of Columbia Circuits as well as the highest courts of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Wisconsin.


  • The Second Disestablishment: Church and State in Nineteenth Century America (Oxford University Press, 2010).
  • Church and State in the Nineteenth Century, in Oxford Handbook on Church and State in the United States, Derek H. Davis, ed. (Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • In Bad Faith: The Corruption of Charitable Choice, in Fundamentalism and the Rule of Law, Marci Hamilton, ed. (MacMillan Pub., 2009).
  • All Things Not Being Equal: Reconciling Student Religious Expression in the Public Schools, 42 U.C. Davis Law Review 843 (2009).
  • "William Strong," in The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law, Roger K. Newman, ed. (Yale University Press, 2009).
  • Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court (Baylor University Press, 2008), with Ronald B. Flowers and Melissa Rogers.
  • The Insignificance of the Blaine Amendment, 2008 B.Y.U. Law Review 295 (2008).
  • Reconciling the Irreconcilable: Military Chaplains and the First Amendment, 110 West Virginia Law Review 167 (2007).
  • Religious Liberty as a Positive and Negative Right, 70 Albany Law Review 101 (2007).
  • A "Spacious Conception": Separationism as an Idea, 85 Oregon Law Review 443 (2006).
  • Religion Clause Federalism: State Flexibility over Religious Matters and the "One-Way Ratchet", 56 Emory L. J. 107 (2006).
  • "Bad History": The Lure of History in Establishment Clause Adjudication, 81 Notre Dame L. Rev. 101 (2006).
  • A "Legacy of Discrimination?" The Rhetoric and Reality of the Faith Based Initiative: Oregon as a Case Study, 84 Oregon Law Review 725 (2005).
  • Federalism and the Establishment Clause: A Reassessment, 38 Creighton Law Review 761 (June 2005).
  • Locke v. Davey and the Limits to Neutrality Theory, 77 Temple Law Review 913 (Winter 2004).
  • "Blaming Blaine": The Mixed Legacy of the Blaine Amendment, 2 First Amendment Law Review 107 (Winter 2003).
  • Seminal or Symbolic: The Meaning of Zelman v. Simmons-Harris and its Future Impact, in Paul Peterson, ed., What's Next for School Vouchers (Hoover Institute Press/Stanford University Press, 2003).
  • Book review of Clergy Malpractice in America, by Mark A. Weitz, in 45 Journal of Church and State 189 (Winter 2003).
  • Religious Discrimination, Public Funding, and Constitutional Values, 30 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 1 (Fall 2002).
  • Of (Un)Equal Jurisprudential Pedigree: Rectifying the Imbalance between Separation and Neutrality, 43 Boston College Law Review 1111 (Sept. 2002).
  • The Illusionary Aspect of ‘Private Choice,' 38 Willamette Law Review 549 (Fall 2002).
  • Critical Legal Issues Involving Vouchers, 75 St. John's Univ. Law Review 209 (Spring 2001).
  • The Constitutionality of Vouchers After Mitchell v. Helms, 57 N.Y.U. Annual Survey of American Law 57 (2001).
  • Charitable Choice and Neutrality, 57 N.Y.U. Annual Survey of American Law 33 (2001).
  • The Ambiguity of Neutrality, 86 Cornell Law Review 101 (March 2001).
  • Should We Put Faith in Charitable Choice? 10 The Responsive Community 31 (Fall 2000).
  • The Fount of Everything Just and Right? The Ten Commandments as a Source of American Law, 13 Journal of Law and Religion 101(2000).
  • ‘Private' Prayer and Public Audiences, 5 Nexus 27 (2000).
  • Private School Vouchers and the Confusion over ‘Direct' Aid, 10 George Mason Univ. Civil Rights Law Journal 47 (2000).
  • Justice David J. Brewer and the ‘Christian Nation' Decision, 63 Albany Law Review 101 (1999).
  • Contemporary Challenges Facing the First Amendment's Religion Clauses, 48 New York Law School Law Review 102 (1999).
  • Religion in Public Schools: Of Misnomers and Misinformation, 46 Federal Lawyer 38 (June 1999).
  • Is Public Education Hostile to Religion? 83 American Teacher 4 (Dec. 1998).
  • Book Review of The Culture of Disbelief by Stephen L. Carter, 30 Georgia State Bar Journal 240 (Summer 1994).
  • Stars in the Constitutional Constellation: Federal and State Constitutional Provisions on Church & State. Silver Spring, MD: Americans United Research Foundation, 1993.
  • The Legal Argument Against Private School Choice, 62 University of Cincinnati Law Review 37 (Summer 1993).
  • The Blaine Amendment Reconsidered, 36 American Journal of Legal History 38 (January 1992).
  • Evangelicals and the Becker Amendment: A Lesson in Church-State Moderation, 33 Journal of Church and State 541 (Summer 1991).
  • The Misnomer of Equality Under the Equal Access Act, 14 Vermont Law Review 369 (1990).
  • The Misguided Search for a Christian America, 42 Church & State 105 (May 1989).
  • Freedom of Religion in Alaska: Interpreting the Alaska Constitution, 5 Alaska Law Review 237 (December 1988).

Lectures, Presentations and Debates

  • Willamette University Affirmative Action in Higher Education panel, Feb. 7, 2007.
  • Darwin Days: "Creationism on Trial" - Willamette University College of Law panel, Feb. 9, 2007.
  • "Religion and the Founding Era," George Fox University conference, March 3, 2007.
  • "The Meaning of Religious Liberty," SMU Law School debate, March 6, 2007.
  • "Religious Expression in the Public Schools," Oregon School Boards Association presentation, March 9, 2007.
  • "Faith-Based Initiative," Lewis & Clark law school presentation, March 15, 2007.
  • Conference on Free Exercise, Albany Law School, March 29, 2007.
  • "Religion Clauses in the 21st Century," West Virginia University Law School symposium, April 12, 2007.
  • "American Experiment in Religious Freedom," University of Portland symposium, April 14, 2007.
  • "Disentangling Church and State," University of Oregon School of Law, Portland, OR, March 24, 2006.
  • "Legal, Cultural, and Political Conceptions of the Separation Between Church and State," Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, Syracuse University School of Law, Syracuse, NY, March 17, 2006.
  • "Fundamentalism and the Rule of Law, Cardozo School of Law, New York, NY, March 14, 2006.
  • "Interactive Federalism: Filling the Gaps? Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA, February 16, 2006.
  • "The (Re)Turn to History in Religion Clause Law and Scholarship," Association of American Law Schools , Washington , DC, January 6, 2006.
  • "The Future of Religious Freedom in America," McCormick Tribune Foundation and the First Amendment Center, Chicago, IL, October 10-11, 2005.
  • "Cities in the Middle: The Emerging Debate over Religion in Public Life," UC Hastings Law School, San Francisco, CA, October 5, 2005.
  • "The Separation of Church and State: Should the Wall be Lowered?" Solomon Lecture, Jewish Federation of Portland, Portland, OR, June 9, 2005.
  • "Section 1983 Actions - Constitutional Law Update," Oregon Bar Association, Portland, OR, April 1, 2005.
  • "Religious Expression in the Public Schools," Oregon School Boards Association, Salem, OR, March 11, 2005.
  • Panel Discussion on the Ten Commandments' Cases, Georgetown University Law Center, February 2, 2005.
  • "Gender, Religion and Morality in Nineteenth Century America," American Historical Association, Seattle, Wa., Jan. 9, 2005.
  • "Christians for Peace and Justice Summit," Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Portland, OR, Oct. 23, 2004.
  • "Reconciling the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses," Creighton University School of Law Centennial Symposium, Omaha, NE, Oct. 9, 2004.
  • "Pledge of Allegiance Case," Historical Society of the U.S. District Court of Oregon, Portland, OR, Sept. 23, 2004.
  • Lawyers and Activists Summit, National Center for Science Education, Berkeley, CA, Sept. 10-12, 2004.
  • "Religion and the Law: Contrasting Views on Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause Developments," National Association of Attorneys General Conference, Santa Monica, CA, June 16, 2004.
  • "Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow" ("The Pledge of Allegiance Case"), National Organization of Lawyers for Education Associations Conference, San Diego, CA, June 3-5, 2004.
  • "Fifty Years after Brown: What Has Been Accomplished and What Remains to be Done?" Harvard University, J.F.K. School of Government, Cambridge, MA., April 22-24, 2004.
  • "When Hate Happens Here: Free Speech vs. Hate Speech," Chemeketa Community College, Salem, OR, March 5, 2004.
  • Debate on Locke v. Davey with Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, The Federalist Society, Houston and Austin, Texas Chapters, February 12 & 13, 2004.
  • "Supreme Court Preview, 2003-2004," The Institute of Bill of Rights, William and Mary School of Law, Williamsburg, VA, October 24-25, 2003.
  • "Faith-Based Conference," Anchorage, AK, August 12, 2003.
  • "Pledge of Allegiance Case," Inns of Court, Salem, OR, April 17, 2003.
  • "Religion in Public Schools?" Thomas J. White Center on Law and Government, Notre Dame University Law School, South Bend, IN, April 13, 2003.
  • "Separation of Church and States," University of North Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill, NC, March 28, 2003.
  • "Southwest Commission on Religious Studies," American Academy of Religion, Dallas, Texas, March 15-16, 2003.
  • "Charitable Choice, Creating Change Conference," National Gay, Lesbian Task Force Annual Conference, Portland, OR, November 8, 2002.
  • "What's Next for Vouchers?" John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, October 17-18, 2002.
  • "School Vouchers: Past Lessons and Future Prospects," The Federalist Society, Indianapolis, IN, June 28, 2002.
  • "Student Religious Expression in Public Schools," National PTA Convention, San Antonio, TX, June, 23, 2002.
  • "Shifting into Neutral? Emerging Perspectives on the Separation of Church and State," Boston College Law School, Newton, MA, April 5, 2003.
  • "Symposium on Law and Education," Willamette University College of Law, Salem, OR, March 2, 2002.
  • "School Choice, Charters, and Vouchers," University of San Diego School of Law and School of Education, San Diego, CA, January 18, 2002.
  • "First Amendment Review," Oregon School Boards Association, Portland, OR, Nov. 2001.
  • "Town Hall on Charitable Choice," Portland State University, Portland, OR, November 6, 2001.

Professional Associations and Activities

  • Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Licensed to Practice Law in Texas, Alaska, Minnesota, and Maryland
  • Admitted to Practice Law before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits
  • American Bar Association
  • American Society for Legal History
  • National Council of Churches, Religious Liberty Committee
  • National Center for Science Education, Legal Advisory Committee
  • Editorial Council, Journal of Church and State
  • Reporter, Oregon Law Commission
  • Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Public Policy Advisory Committee