Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Vanderbilt University
Website URL
criminal law, criminal procedure, constitutional law, public defenders, indigent defense, criminal trials, bill of rights, legal history, American legal history, U.S. Constitution, rights, law, due process, mass incarceration, history of prisons, crime, punishment
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Sara Mayeux is a legal historian of the twentieth-century United States, focusing on criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, and legal culture. She is also interested broadly in the interplay between law and history. She is working on a book, tentatively titled Free Justice: Poverty, Democracy, and the Rights of the Accused in Twentieth-Century America (under contract with the University of North Carolina Press), which examines the relationship in American legal culture between the constitutional right to counsel, the history of indigent defense and public defender offices, and ideas about fair trial and democratic governance. Mayeux has received numerous awards, grants, and fellowships. Most recently in 2017, her Columbia Law Review article, “What Gideon Did,” received the Cromwell Article Prize, awarded annually for the best article in American legal history published by an early career scholar. Mayeux earned her law degree, as well as her PhD in history, from Stanford University. Before joining Vanderbilt’s law faculty in 2016, she was a Sharswood Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Berger-Howe Legal History Fellow at Harvard Law School. Before entering the legal academy, she clerked for Judge Marsha S. Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Recent Publications

“Debating the Past’s Authority in Alabama,” 70 Stanford Law Review 1645 (2018) (invited reflection essay on Robert W. Gordon’s Taming the Past)

“What Gideon Did,” 116 Columbia Law Review 15 (2016)

“Federalism Anew,” 56 American Journal of Legal History 128 (2016) (with Karen Tani)

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Government, Law