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Brett Kavanaugh’s proven dedication to religious liberty

July 24, 2018

By Hiram Sasser, First Liberty Institute General Counsel. Originally published in the Washington Examiner July 24, 2018.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will be an ardent defender of religious liberty, all experience shows.

As general counsel of a law firm devoted to religious liberty cases, I normally would evaluate a judicial nominee by searching through his or her decisions on the First Amendment and the free exercise clause. However, I didn’t need to comb the archives to see where Kavanaugh stands on religious liberty, because of personal experience — both my own, and that of my friend and CEO, Kelly Shackelford — dealing with Kavanaugh as a lawyer and a judge.

You can tell a lot about a person by where they invest their time — especially when they are not being paid for it.

Before he was a judge, Kavanaugh volunteered his time to work with Shackelford and another prominent First Amendment Supreme Court practitioner, Jay Sekulow, on the case of Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe. Together, they argued that student-led, student-initiated prayer before high school football games does not violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Kavanaugh would again volunteer his time to write a friend-of-the-court brief at the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the use of public school facilities by a religious club after hours in a pivotal equal access case, Good News Club v. Milford School District.

More recently, First Liberty Institute and one of our network attorneys, Shannen Coffin of Steptoe & Johnson, filed an amicus brief in the case of Archdiocese of Washington v. WMATA.

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