American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)

Founded by Pat Robertson, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and its Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow quickly established themselves as key players in the right-wing movement, litigating a variety of cases at all levels, including the Supreme Court. The ACLJ has been particularly active in fighting marriage equality and defending the Pledge of Allegiance, while Sekulow has maintained very close ties to the Bush White House and played a central role in pushing for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito.

American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)
PO Box 64429
1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23467
Website: www.aclj.org

Founder: Pat Robertson, founder of the 700 Club, Christian Coalition, Operation Blessing, Regent University
Date established: 1990
Executive Director/Chief Counsel: Jay Sekulow
Publications: Newsletter, education pamphlets, reports, and Foundations of Freedom, a free booklet on the "nation's most important documents."
Annual Budget: $14,650,162 (2004)
Employees: 50
Media: Sekulow has been a popular guest on nationally televised news programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CNBC, and PBS. He is also frequently quoted in articles published in the mainstream press.
Media: "Jay Sekulow Live!" is a daily weekday radio show that is aired on over 550 radio stations in the U.S., heard by 1.5 million listeners; "ACLJ This Week" broadcasts throughout the week on multiple cable TV channels.

Principal Issues

  • The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is a legal advocacy group "dedicated to defending and advancing religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the two-parent, marriage-bound family."
  • ACLJ is a strong supporter of the Federal Marriage Amendment intended to ban same-sex marriage.
  • ACLJ has been involved with more than 30 cases before the United States Supreme Court and has been successful in many of its lawsuits.
  • ACLJ is a strong supporter of school vouchers and filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the 2002 Cleveland voucher case before the Supreme Court.
  • The ACLJ supports the funding of faith-based social services, religious proclamations in the public domain, and often equates religious expression with patriotism.
  • ACLJ strongly opposes the right to legal, safe abortion and provides legal help to pro-life protesters who harass women seeking reproductive services.
  • The ACLJ challenges domestic partnership benefits for city and state employees, anti-discrimination ordinances that include sexual orientation, and generally fights against the right of gays and lesbians to be parents.
  • The ACLJ's legal services are free.

Activities

  • In 2004-2005, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) played a key role in the effort to eliminate the minority party's ability to make use of a senatorial filibuster for judicial nominees.
  • ACLJ gives free legal advice and counsel and maintains a national Christian Affiliate Attorney list for referrals.
  • Two of the Supreme Court cases argued by Sekulow have become benchmark cases in the area of religious liberty litigation. In Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens (496 US 226), Sekulow argued the right of public school students to form Bible clubs and religious organizations on their school campuses. In Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches School District, Sekulow defended the rights of religious groups to use public school property for religious meetings after hours.
  • A few other examples of ACLJ cases:
    • ACLJ defended a group of parents who drove a transsexual teacher out of her job in Minnesota,
    • Supported a Kmart pharmacist who refused to dispense birth control pills, and
    • Pursued litigation over various claims that children are being told that they cannot pray on school grounds or talk about their religion.

    About Jay Sekulow

    • Jay Sekulow helped draft the Defense of the Marriage Act (DOMA), which passed both houses and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. DOMA allows states to reject the legitimacy of same-sex marriage licenses awarded in other states, although, to this day no state offers marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Sekulow helped draft DOMA: "[and] at the request of several pro-family legislators, [I] gave expert testimony to both houses of Congress on this bill." (Jay Sekulow, 1997)
    • The National Law Journal has twice named Sekulow one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers" in the United States. (1994, 1997); he is a leading conservative lawyer, and has argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court.
    • In 2005, Sekulow was named one of the "25 Most Influential Evangelicals" in America by TIME Magazine.
    • Sekulow has also worked closely with the White House in promoting and defending the Bush administration's Supreme Court nominees.

    Quotes

    "This great American institution [Boy Scouts of America] has come under attack from homosexual activists—who may well set their sights on your church next."
    – Jay Sekulow, direct mail, March 2000

    "Can you imagine, that in public schools of America today, students are being taught that homosexual conduct, which in many states is still deemed illegal, is not only a viable alternative lifestyle, but is actually equal to heterosexual relationships?"
    – Jay Sekulow, January 2, 1997, Danbury News-Times

    Updated: August 2006

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