Steven Green

Prof. Steven Green

Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law, Director of the Center for Reli, Willamette University College of Law

Steven K. Green is the Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law and Affiliated Professor of History at Willamette University where he teaches courses in Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Legal History, Jurisprudence, and Criminal Law in the College of Law, and Legal History and American Religious History in the College of Liberal Arts. In addition, Professor Green directs the interdisciplinary Center for Religion, Law and Democracy, one of Willamette’s Centers of Excellence.

Professor Green joined the Willamette faculty in August 2001, after serving for 10 years as legal director and special counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington, DC, public interest organization that concentrates on First Amendment issues. Professor Green has extensive litigation and appellate experience in First Amendment law involving issues such as school prayer, public funding of religious institutions, public religious displays, religious discrimination, religious free exercise and freedom of speech. He has participated in several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), the Cleveland school vouchers case; Mitchell v. Helms (2000), authorizing state-paid computers and educational equipment to religious schools; and Santa Fe Ind. Sch. Dist. v. Doe (2000), striking prayer at public school football games. He regularly submits amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently co-authoring two amicus briefs in the 2013-14 term.

In addition, Professor Green has significant legislative experience, having testified before Congress and several state legislatures. He helped draft federal and state laws affecting religious liberty interests, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1993), the Religious Land-Use and Institutionalized Persons Protection Act (2000), and the Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act (2009).

Professor Green is a widely sought speaker at national conferences and a prolific author whose writings have been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts. He is the author of Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding (Oxford University Press, 2015), The Bible, the School, and the Constitution: The Clash that Shaped Modern Church-State Doctrine (Oxford, 2012); The Second Disestablishment: Church and State in Nineteenth Century America (Oxford, 2010), co-author of Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court (Baylor, 2008), and a contributor to the Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties and the Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law, among others. He is currently writing a new book on church and state in the middle of the twentieth century. Professor Green holds a PhD in American constitutional history and an MA in American religious history from the University of North Carolina, a JD from the University of Texas, and a BA in history and political science, Phi Beta Kappa, from Texas Christian University. He also took post-graduate study at Duke Law and Divinity Schools.

Professor Green serves on the public policy board of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. He also serves on the editorial council of the Journal of Church and State and the legal advisory committee of the National Center for Science Education. He previously served on the religious liberty committee of the National Council of Churches and as recorder for the Oregon Law Commission's study of the faith-based initiative in Oregon.

In 2014 and 2006, Professor Green received the Robert L. Misner Award for Excellence in Scholarship, which was established in memory of former College of Law Dean and Professor Robert L. Misner. Professor Green also received the 2003 Professor of the Year Award for Teaching.

  • JD, University of Texas, 1981
  • PhD, University of North Carolina, 1997
  • MA, University of North Carolina, 1987
  • BA, Texas Christian University, Phi Beta Kappa, 1978