Religious Right leaders are coming together to form yet another law school to train future lawyers of the conservative movement. The right-wing Alliance Defense Fund is helping Louisiana College, a Southern Baptist institution, start the Paul Pressler School of Law, which will join Liberty University, Regent University and others in providing politicized training to the next generation of Religious Right lawyers.
Pressler’s ties to the Alliance Defense Fund will be similar to the Liberty University School of Law’s partnership with Liberty Counsel and the Regent University School of Law’s (originally Oral Roberts University’s Coburn School of Law) alliance with the American Center for Law and Justice. As Sarah Posner notes, such law schools intend to “teach the ‘biblical’ foundations of the law” and create “lawyers unafraid to inject their particular Christian beliefs, not only into the public square, but quite deliberately into legislation, policy, and jurisprudence.”
According to the National Law Journal, the new law school “is named for Paul Pressler III, a former Texas Court of Appeals judge who helped lead the conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention during the 1970s.”
The founding dean of the Pressler law school, J. Michael Johnson, was previously senior counsel of the ADF and, according to his Townhall.com bio, has “provided legal representation to organizations such as Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, Toward Tradition, the American Family Association, and Coral Ridge Ministries, and numerous family policy councils and crisis pregnancy centers.” In 2005, Johnson won the “Faith, Family and Freedom” award from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins for his work defending the Louisiana Marriage Protection Amendment, which placed a ban on same-sex marriage in the state’s constitution.
Yesterday on Today’s Issues, Perkins, who is a member of Pressler’s board of reference, spoke to Johnson about the new law school. Johnson said the law school would be “not unlike what our colleagues are doing at the Liberty University School of Law and the Regent University School of Law.” Perkins said, “This law school’s not going to be pumping out ambulance chasers, this is going to be pumping out liberal chasers, I mean we’re gonna track them down, wherever they are and we’re gonna defeat them, and if we can’t defeat them in the policy realm we’re gonna defeat them in the courts.” He added, “This law school is gonna be pumping out God-fearing, American-loving, family-defending attorneys”:
The choice of Louisiana College is no surprise. The school claims it “seeks to view all areas of knowledge from a distinctively Christian perspective and integrate Biblical truth thoroughly with each academic discipline” and believes “academic freedom of a Christian professor is limited by the preeminence of Jesus Christ, the authoritative nature of the Holy Scriptures, and the mission of the institution.”
In 2008 the school barred members of the Christian LGBT group Soul Force from appearing on campus. In his decision to bar the group, the college’s president cited a fake James Madison quote propagated by David Barton, which states that the U.S. government was based on “the Ten Commandments.”
Now David Barton is serving on the board of the law school.
Along with Perkins and Barton, Religious Right leaders on the board include Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, Alveda King of Priests for Life, Religious Right luminary Tim LaHaye and his wife Beverly LaHaye of Concerned Women for America, Kelly Shackleford of the Liberty Institute and Reagan’s Attorney General Edwin Meese. Republican politicians including Reps. Rodney Alexander and John Fleming, former congressman Bob McEwen, and senatorial candidate and Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz are also on the board.