Kevin W. Saunders

Kevin W. Saunders
[Hi-Res Photo]
Professor of Law & The Charles Clarke Chair in Constitutional Law
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 353
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

  • Biography

    After a distinguished career as a mathematics educator, Professor Saunders turned his attention to the law. He graduated with high honors from the University of Michigan Law School in 1984, then clerked for the Honorable Kenneth Starr, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He followed with assistant professorships at the University of Arkansas and the University of Oklahoma. During his 16-year tenure at Oklahoma, he rose through the ranks to become a full professor and to serve on the faculties of the graduate school, the College of Liberal Studies, and Film and Video Studies. He was the recipient of four awards at that institution, including the 2001 Regents' Award for Superior Accomplishment in Research and Creative Activity. He also served as Visiting James Madison Chair and Interim Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Drake University.

    Professor Saunders is the author of five books: Violence as Obscenity: Limiting the Media's First Amendment Protection (Duke University Press, 1996), Saving Our Children from the First Amendment (New York University Press,  2003),  Degradation: What the History of Obscenity Tells Us about Hate Speech (New York University Press 2011), Model Problems and Outstanding Answers: Constitutional Law, (Oxford University Press, 2013) (co-authored with Prof. Michael A. Lawrence), and Free Expression and Democracy: A Comparative Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 2017). He has authored dozens of book chapters, law review articles, and commentaries in legal and popular periodicals. He has taught or lectured at universities in the United Kingdom, France, Poland, Lithuania and Spain. He has also authored or co-authored briefs in federal courts, including twice in the Supreme Court.

    He serves as the Charles Clarke Chair in Constitutional Law and teaches Constitutional Law and Comparative Free Expression. Professor Saunders is a member of the Order of the Coif.

  • Degrees

    J.D. with high honors 1984, University of Michigan; M.S. 1970; MA, 1976; and PhD 1978, University of Miami; A.B. 1968, Franklin and Marshall College

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Courses

    Comparative Free Expression
    This course may be taught in either a lecture or seminar format. When taught as a lecture course it is case based. A number of topics in free expression are examined to see how they are differently treated in various democratic states. When taught as a seminar, there will be readings that will be discussed as a class in the first half of the course. Students will also research a topic involving free expression and its treatment in selected countries. In the second half of the course, papers the students develop will be presented to the class.

    Constitutional Law II
    (Formerly DCL 172) A study of procedural and substantive due process of law, equal protection of the laws and the Bill of Rights, including freedom of expression.

    King Scholars Jurisprudence
    (Formerly DCL 359) Prerequisite: King Scholar A course in jurisprudence available to King Scholars as part of the King Scholarship Program. Students entering with a King Scholarship must enroll for the King Scholars Jurisprudence class during their third semester at the Law College. Matriculating students receiving a King Scholarship must enroll for the King Scholars Jurisprudence class in their next regular semester.

    King Scholars Seminar
    (Formerly DCL 404) Students who have a King Scholarship must enroll for the King Scholars Senior Paper course in their last regular semester at the Law College.

    Perspectives on Law for King Scholars
    (Formerly DCL 602) This course is a one credit course open only to first year King Scholars. It will be taught in the second semester, when first year students have one less credit than the first, and is an attempt to add first year content of the King Scholars Program. The course will consist of one hour per week sessions in a book discussion format. The books assigned will provide perspectives on the law not regularly provided in the curriculum. For example, for Spring 2005 the book of Carl Bogus's "Why Lawsuits are Good for America" will be used. Books will change from year to year.

  • Bar Admission(s)

    District of Columbia, Michigan

  • Publications

    Law Faculty Repository »

    SSRN Author Page »


    Saving Our Children from the First Amendment, New York University Press (2003)

    Violence as Obscenity: Limiting the Media’s First Amendment Protection, Duke University Press (1996)

    Book Chapters

    Television Violence Causes Societal Violence, in Mass Media: Opposing Viewpoints 17 (reprinting of chapter from media violence book) (Byron L. Stay, ed., 1999)

    Media Violence and the Obscenity Exception to the First Amendment, in First Amendment Law Handbook, 1995-96 E dition 289 (reprint of 1994 article) (James Swanson, ed. 1996)

    Law Review Articles

    A Disconnect Between Law and Neuroscience: Modern Brain Science, Media Effects and Juvenile Justice, 2004 Utah Law Review (in press)

    The Need for a Two (or More) Tiered First Amendment to Provide for the Protection of Children, 79 Chicago-Kent Law Review 257 (2004)

    Regulating Youth Access to Violent Video Games: Three Responses to First Amendment Concerns, 2003 Michigan State Law Review 51 (2003)

    Political Theory and Politics Also Matter: A Response to Professor Chemerinsky’s Constitutional Theory Matters, 54 Oklahoma Law Review 35 (2001)

    The United States and Canadian Responses to the Feminist Attack on Pornography: A Perspective from the History of Obscenity, 9 Indiana International & Comparative Law Review 1 (1998)

    The Role of Freedoms: An Introduction to the Symposium, 47 Drake Law Review 1 (1998)

    What Logic Can and Cannot Tell Us About Law, 75 Notre Dame Law Review 667 (1998)

    Electronic Indecency: Protecting Children in the Wake of the Cable and Internet Cases, 46 Drake Law Review 1 (1997)

    Billy Budd and Mandatory Federal Sentencing, in A Symposium on Film and the Law, 21 O klahoma City University Law Review 211 (1997)

    Media Self-Regulation of Depictions of Violence: A Last Opportunity , 47 Oklahoma Law Review 445 (1994)

    Media Violence and the Obscenity Exception to the First Amendment , 3 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 107 (1994)

    Informal Fallacies in Legal Argumentation, 44 South Carolina Law Review 343 (1993)

    Realism, Ratiocination and Rules, 46 Oklahoma Law Review 219 (1993)

    Privacy and Social Contract: A Defense of Judicial Activism in the Privacy Cases, 33 Arizona Law Review 811 (1991)

    Should Children Have First Amendment Rights? 13 The Responsive Community 12 (No. 3 2003), reprinted as Protecting the Children: The Paradox of the First Amendment, Current 3 (No. 457 2003)

    A Formal Analysis of Hohfeldian Relations, 23 Akron Review 465 (1990)

    Agency Interpretations and Judicial Review: A Search for Limitations on the Controlling Effect Given Agency Statutory Constructions, 30 Arizona Law Review 769 (1988)

    Voluntary Acts and the Criminal Law: Justifying Culpability Based on the Existence of Volition, 49 University of Pittsburgh Law Review 443 (1988)

    A Logical Look at Special Issue Conflicts, 19 Texas Tech Law Review 37 (1988)

    Interpretative Rules with Legislative Effect: An Analysis and a Proposal for Public Participation, 1986 Duke Law Journal 346 (1986)

    A Logic for the Analysis of Collateral Estoppel, 12 Rutgers Computers & Technology Law Journal 99 (1986)

    The Mythic Difficulty in Proving a Negative, 15 Seton Hall Law Review 276 (1985)

    Book Reviews & Notes

    Book Review, Ethics, Public Policy, and Criminal Justice (F. Elliston & N. Bowie eds. 1983) 82 Michigan Law Review 1144 (1984)

    Note, The Burden of Proof in Double Jeopardy Claims, 82 Michigan Law Review 369 (1983)

    Book Review, G. Christie’s Law, Norms and Authority (1982) 81 Michigan Law Review. 909 (1983)

    Other Publications

    Federal Court Decision Turns Ozzie and Harriet into Jack-Booted Thugs , The Manchester Union Leader (June 19, 2001)

    Granholm on Target with Video Sting, The Detroit News 19A (December 21, 2000)

    Violence in Media Can Be Restricted: Congress Can Create Limits that Will Meet Constitutional Muster, The Lansing State Journal 11A (November 15, 2000)

    Virtual Killing Sprees and Kids Just Don’t Mix, USA Today 25A (October 12, 2000)

    Protecting Children from TV: Include Violence in Obscenity Definition , T he P rovidence J ournal (October 4, 2000)

    Confine TV Violence to Late at Night, T he P rovidence J ournal (August 8, 2000) Also published as Television Violence as Obscenity, San Diego Union Tribune B9 (September 5, 2000); Keep Violent Shows on Late-Night Schedule, T he D es M oines R egister 7A (October 3, 2000)

    Regulating Internet Indecency, in Update on Law-related Education 8 (American Bar Association, Summer/Fall 1998)

    Testimony of Kevin W. Saunders before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology (1997)

    A Life in the Law, American Bar Association (with Brian Doan, Charles White & Rodney Smith) (1997)

    Public Scrutiny for Public Figures, T he D es M oines R egister A9 (September 16, 1997)

    The V-Chip: Coming Up Short or Constitutional Overreaching? West Virginia University College of Law Journal of Law & Technology (on line journal at (1997)

    Defining What's “Obscene" and What's on Television , The Washington Times A15 (August 6, 1996)

    Media Violence and the First Amendment, Continuing Legal Education publication, Oklahoma County Bar Association (1995)

    Discrimination Against Asian Americans in University Admissions , Asian Advocate 7 (Spring 1993)

    Privacy and the Courts: A Defense of Judicial Activism, in The Supreme Court & The Constitution 50, Continuing Legal Education publication, University of Oklahoma (1990)

    Publications in Other Areas

    The Kempton/Kimpton Family in North America: From Plymouth Colony through the Tenth Generation (written by Morton W. Saunders, 1916-98; edited by Eleanor F. Saunders & Kevin W. Saunders) (Gateway Press, 2000)

    On Target for Friendship: Using Relational Diagrams in Teaching Friendship Skills to Behaviorally Disordered Children, (with M. Scott) 21 (4)Teaching Exceptional Children 54 (Summer 1989)

    Pictorial Languages in Problem Solving, in Problem Solving in School Mathematics 61, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (with J. Schneider) (1980)

    Logical Thinking and Multiple Classification in Kindergarten Students , (with L. Meyerson) 2 (2) Thinking No. 39 (1980)

    A Model for the Mathematics Education of Gifted Secondary School Students, (with M. Herbert) 7 MENSA Research Journal 40 (1980)

    Logic Activities for Kindergarten, 19 Mathematics in Michigan 1 (1980)

    CSMP Mathematics for the First Grade (two volumes) (writing team leader) (CEMREL Institute, 1979)

    Introduction to Fields (member of writing team) (CEMREL Institute, 1978)

    Ordered n-Tuples, in Elements of Mathematics: Intuitive Background (separately bound monograph) (member of writing team) (CEMREL Institute, 1978)

    Logic and Sets (member of writing team) (CEMREL Institute, 1977)

    Introductory Logic (member of writing team) (CEMREL Institute, 1976)