Steve Cohen grew up in Florida and for a time in California, where his parents had moved in the meantime. Later he returned to his native city of Memphis. He graduated from the Cora Gables High School in Florida. Until 1971, he then studied at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. After a subsequent law studies at the University of Memphis and his admission to the bar he began to work in his new profession.
At the same time he proposed as a member of the Democratic Party launched a political career. In 1977, he was vice president of a meeting on the revision of the Constitution of Tennessee. From 1978 to 1980 he was district administrator in Shelby County; 1982-2006 he was a member of the Senate of Tennessee. In 1994 he applied unsuccessfully for his party's nomination for the then upcoming gubernatorial elections. Two years later, in 1996, Cohen ran unsuccessfully for Congress.
In the congressional elections of 2006, Cohen was in the ninth constituency of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington DC chosen, where he became the successor of Harold Ford Jr. on January 3, 2007. After the previous two elections, he can exercise his mandate until today. His current legislative period runs until 3 January 2013. In Congress Cohen is a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Transport and infrastructure as well as in a total of seven sub-committees.