Carol S. Steiker is the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Her work ranges across the broad field of criminal justice, from the philosophical foundations of substantive criminal law and constitutional criminal procedure to institutional design, with a special focus on issues related to capital punishment.
During her Radcliffe fellowship year, Steiker is working on a book—coauthored with Jordan M. Steiker of the University of Texas School of Law, who is her brother and frequent collaborator in scholarship, litigation, and law reform—about the past half-century’s experiment with the constitutional regulation of capital punishment in America. The book will explore the American death penalty’s roller-coaster ride over the past several decades and consider what it might teach us about both the anomalous American practice of capital punishment and the promises and pitfalls of constitutional regulation of contentious social issues.
Steiker is a graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges and Harvard Law School, where she served as president of the Harvard Law Review. She served as a law clerk to Judge J. Skelly Wright of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Justice Thurgood Marshall of US Supreme Court. She also worked as a public defender before joining Harvard Law. In addition to her scholarly work, Steiker has worked on pro bono litigation projects on behalf of indigent criminal defendants, served as a consultant and an expert witness on issues of criminal justice for nonprofit organizations, and testified before Congress and state legislatures.