Shaakirrah R. Sanders

Visiting Professor of Law

Shaakirrah R. Sanders joined Penn State Dickinson Law as visiting professor of law. Prior to joining Dickinson Law, Sanders was the first African-American, and second person of color, to achieve the rank of full professor at the University of Idaho College of Law in 2018. Professor Sanders teaches courses related to U.S. constitutional law and criminal procedure. She previously coached or co-coached the National Moot Court Competition teams in Boise and Moscow. She serves as faculty advisor for the ACS and ACLU Student Law Groups. She previously served as faculty advisor for the Idaho Critical Legal Studies Journal and the Public Interest Law Group.

Professor Sanders has published scholarship on felony sentencing reform; civil and criminal jury trial rights; religious freedom; and agriculture security or “ag-gag” legislation. Her work has or will appear in Cornell Law Review, Wake Forest Law Review, Irvine Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, and University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 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.

Professor Sanders enjoys presenting at legal scholarship conferences in her areas of law teaching. She occasionally testifies before the Idaho Legislature and regularly gives CLE, university, and public service presentations. She has appeared in Idaho related news stories in The New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, and Al Jazeera America. She has also provided legal commentary for Excited Utterance: The Evidence Law and Proof Podcast, as well many local and regional radio and television news broadcasts and publications.

Prior to joining the College of Law, Professor Sanders served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Honorable Lavenski R. Smith, current Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She practiced 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. She was named a William Crowe Scholar upon graduation. In 2004, she was named 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 recently served a five-year term as president of her 20th Reunion Committee.

Professor Sanders has inactive bar admissions in Louisiana, New York, and Washington, as well as various federal district and circuit courts. She serves as a board officer for the ACLU of Idaho and the Richard C. Fields American Inns of Court. She formerly chaired the AALS Section on Constitutional Law (2018-19) and currently chairs the Idaho State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Select Publications by Professor Sanders

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

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

“Rewritten Opinion of Simpkins v. Grace Brethren Church,” in Feminist Judgments: Torts Opinions Rewritten (forthcoming 2019).

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

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