Shaakirrah R. Sanders

Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Antiracism and Critical Pedagogy

Shaakirrah R. Sanders serves as Associate Dean for Antiracism and Critical Pedagogy, as Professor of Law, and as the Lewis H. Vovakis Distinguished Faculty Scholar. Prior to joining Penn State Dickinson Law as visiting professor of law in 2022, Professor Sanders was the first African-American descendant of slaves to achieve the rank of full professor at the University of Idaho and its College of Law. She teaches Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, and the First Amendment.

Professor Sanders is a contributor for SCOTUSblog and has appeared on international and national broadcasts and publications, including MSNBC, CBC News, NBC News NOW, NEWSNATION, Scripps News, New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, BuzzFeed, Glamour Magazine, YahooNews!, NPR, and NPR’s All Things Considered. She also regularly appears on local and regional television, public radio, and print news broadcasts and publications in Washington, Idaho and the Pacific Northwest.

Professor Sanders has co-authored the forthcoming West legal textbook, PRIVACY AND RACIAL JUSTICE. Professor Sanders has also published scholarship on felony sentencing reform, civil and criminal jury trial rights, and commercial privacy. Her work has or will appear in Cornell Law Review, Wake Forest Law Review, Irvine Law Review, Washington and Lee Law Review, Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, and Hastings Law Journal among other publications. She also contributed commentary for edited collections, including Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Torts Opinions; The Contested Place of Religion in Family Law; Mass Communication Law in Idaho; and Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court.

Prior to joining the legal academy, Professor Sanders served as a judicial law clerk in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle and in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit for the Honorable Lavenski R. Smith, current Chief Judge. Professor Sanders practiced law in Seattle, Washington at K&L Gates and the Public Defender Association. She also practiced in New Orleans, Louisiana at Locke Lord.

Professor Sanders attended Loyola University New Orleans College of Law where she served as Index/Casenote Editor on the Loyola Law Review and was named a William Crowe Scholar upon graduation. In 2004, Professor Sanders was selected as a Pegasus Scholar and participated in a legal exchange program between the United States and the United Kingdom. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and currently serves on its Board of Fellows.

Professor Sanders has inactive bar admissions in Louisiana, New York, and Washington, as well as various federal district and circuit courts. Professor Sanders serves as the national board representative for the ACLU of Idaho and as one of three general counsels for the ACLU National Board. She formerly chaired the AALS Section on Constitutional Law (2018-19), AALS Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (2021-22), and the Idaho State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 2022, she was named Outstanding Scholar and Conference Honoree at the 15th Annual Lutie A. Lytle Commemorative Black Women Law Faculty Workshop and Conference and in 2020 she received the University of Idaho College of Law Diversity and Human Rights Award.

Select Publications by Professor Sanders

“Gag with Malice,” 79 Wash. & Lee Law Rev. 1715 (2023).

“Two Rules for Cross-Examination at Drug Sentencing,” 19 Ohio State J. Crim. Law 527 (2022).

The Corporate Privacy Proxy,” 105 Cornell L. Rev. 1171 (2020).

Ag-Gag Free Nation,” 54 Wake Forest L. Rev. 491 (2019).

Religious Healing Exemptions and the Jurisprudential Gap Between Substantive Due Process and Free Exercise Rights,” 8 Irvine L. Rev. 633 (2018).

Deconstructing Juryless Fact-Finding in Civil Cases,” 25 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 235 (2016), cited in Beason v. IE Miller Services, Inc., 441 P.3d 1107, 1126 n.60 (Ok. 2019) (Edmondson, J., dissenting).

Unbranding Confrontation as Only a Trial Right,” 65 Hastings L.J. 1257 (2014), cited in United States v. Lattimore, 525 F. Supp.3d 142 n., (D. D.C. 03/08/21) and State v. Zamzow, 892 N.W. 637, 651 n.7, 658 n.31, 373 Wis. 220 (Wis. 2017) (Abrahamson, J., dissenting).

Shaakirrah Sanders


Phone 717-241-3557


Faculty Impact

J.D., Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, cum laude

B.S., Trinity College

Research Interests
Confrontation rights at felony sentencing

Criminal and civil jury trial rights

Equal protection: race, gender, and sexuality

First Amendment: speech, press, association and religious freedom

Substantive due process: marriage, family autonomy, and reproductive freedom

Voting rights