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Steve graduated first in his class at Penn Law and clerked in 1971 for Justice Thurgood Marshall where he had principal drafting responsibility for the Justice’s contribution to Furman v. Georgia. A subsequent teaching assignment at UVA Law led to his representation of all Virginia prisoners in a class action case challenging parole procedure. During his 19 years on the faculty of UVA Law School, Steve represented indigent persons pro bono in civil rights and habeas corpus cases, and in state and federal courts.

He was the sole faculty adviser to the law school’s Post-Conviction Project, which provided legal assistance to prisoners in VA and other states. His argument in Daniel v. Williams was the first of his three appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professor Saltzburg served on both the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence. In 1987-88, he was Associate Independent Counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the U.S. D.O.J. in 1988-89. In 1989-90, he was the Attorney General's ex officio representative on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Steve continued his civil rights work when he began teaching at GWU Law School in 1990. That year, he was appointed to oversee both a challenging civil rights case between African-American and white D.C. firefighters, and the 1977 case Hartman v. Gelb, in 1977 on behalf of women experiencing job discrimination at then-Voice of America. He presided over more than 40 trials, developed a damages model, and issued findings of fact and conclusions of law for the court. George Washington University named Steve "University Professor," the highest honor a university can confer, in 2004. He is the only law professor ever named a University Professor at the University.

In 1991, Steve was a co-founder of the National Institute of Military Justice, a nonpartisan organization devoted to promoting and improving military justice and protecting the constitutional rights of service members. He has participated in amicus curiae briefs in a number of courts that have supported the civil rights of men and women in uniform. While at George Washington University Law School, Steve has traveled twice to China to participate in discussions with both academics and government officials on improving criminal procedure in that country.



  • HansonBridgett
  • WilmerHale
  • ABA Criminal Justice Section


The John H. Pickering Achievement Award is co-sponsored by the ABA Senior Lawyers Division, Commission on Law and AgingSection of Civil Rights and Social JusticeStanding Committee on Pro Bono and Public ServiceStanding Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants.