Skip to main content
Steven P. Brown

Steven P. Brown

Morris Savage Endowed Chair


Law and Justice Program Director

Political Science

Steven P. Brown

Contact Me


7006 Haley Center

Office Hours

Monday 2:00 - 5:00 pm

Wednesday 2:00 - 5:00 pm

and by appointment

In the news


PhD, University of Virginia

MA, University of Virginia

BA, Brigham Young University


About Me

Steve Brown received his PhD from the University of Virginia and has taught at Auburn since 1998. He teaches several courses in American constitutional law as well as religion and politics, law and society, and American government. His research interests focus primarily on American legal history and church and state issues. In 2005, his book, Trumping Religion: The New Christian Right, The Free Speech Clause and the Courts received the National Communication Association's Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression. In 2006, he received the National Faculty of the Year Award from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. His article “The Girard Will and Twin Landmarks of Supreme Court History” received the Supreme Court Historical Society’s 2017 Hughes-Gossett Senior Prize, which was presented by Chief Justice John Roberts.

He created a traveling exhibit about landmark Supreme Court cases from Alabama entitled “Alabama Justice: The Cases and Faces that Changed a Nation.” It toured the state from 2019-2021 as part of the Alabama statehood bicentennial and was a finalist for the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. At the request of the Alabama Supreme Court, the exhibit is now on permanent display at the state judicial building in Montgomery. The companion book of the same name was published in 2020 and was awarded the Anne B. and James B. McMillan Prize in Southern History. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, and the Alabama Humanities Foundation. 

He also teaches courses in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Auburn, lectures on political and First Amendment issues throughout the state, and serves as an instructor with The Election Center in providing professional education training to elections officials nationwide. His outreach efforts were recognized with Auburn University’s 2020 Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach. 

Research Interests

American legal history, church and state issues


  • Alabama Justice: The Cases and Faces That Changed a Nation, University of Alabama Press, 2020.
  • “The Girard Will and Twin Landmarks of Supreme Court History,” Journal of Supreme Court History Vol. 41, Issue 1 (2016).
  • John McKinley and the Antebellum Supreme Court: Circuit Riding in the Old Southwest,  University of Alabama Press, 2012.
  • “An Assault on Justice: John McKinley and the Affair at Jackson,” Journal of Supreme Court History Vol. 36, Issue 2 (2011).
  • "Mirroring Madison: The Historic and Continuing Influence of James Madison on the United States Supreme Court," in James Madison: Philosopher, Founder, and Statesman, ed. William D. Pederson and John R. Vile, Ohio University Press, 2008.
  • "Leaving the Spiritual Sphere: Religious Expression in the Public Workplace," Journal of Church and State Vol 49, No. 4 (2007).
  • "Blood and Precedent: Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah," in Creating Constitutional Change, ed. Gregg Ivers and Kevin McGuire, University of Virginia Press, 2004.
  • "Public Schools and Religious Expression: An Analysis of the Diversity of School Board Policies Regarding Religious Expression" (with Dr. Cynthia Bowling), Journal of Church and State 45 (Spring 2003), 259-281.
  • Trumping Religion: The New Christian Right, the Free Speech Clause, and the Courts, University of Alabama Press, 2002. Paperback edition published 2004.