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National Religious Freedom Expert: Judge Gorsuch Has Solid Record on Religious Freedom

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January 31, 2017

Dallas, Texas – Today, President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of First Liberty Institute, praises Judge Gorsuch’s consistent record on religious liberty.

“As a candidate, President Trump promised to appoint pro-religious freedom judges to the Supreme Court,” Shackelford says. “Today, he took a positive step toward achieving that goal.”

“As a religious freedom law firm, we have one criterion for evaluating judicial candidates. We ask, ‘Does this candidate have a proven record of upholding the Constitution, especially as it relates to religious freedom?’ I am pleased to say that Judge Gorsuch has just such a record, authoring or joining multiple landmark opinions upholding religious freedom.”

Some of the most notable religious freedom opinions Judge Gorsuch wrote or signed as a judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals include:

  • HHS Abortion Pill Mandate – Judge Gorsuch wrote and joined opinions supporting the rights of ministries and closely-held family businesses to be free from the burden imposed by the HHS Abortion Pill Mandate (Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius (2013), Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell (2015)).
  • Establishment Clause – Judge Gorsuch wrote or signed opinions upholding the constitutionality of the public display of Ten Commandments monuments (Summum v. Pleasant Grove City (2007), Green v. Haskell County Bd. of Cnty. Commissioners (2009)).
  • Monuments and Memorials – Judge Gorsuch wrote an opinion defending the existence of cross-shaped memorials for fallen state troopers (American Atheists, Inc. v. Duncan (2010)).

“America needs Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Constitution and defend the religious liberty of every American,” Shackelford says. “I am hopeful that Judge Gorsuch will live up to President Trump’s and the American people’s expectations and strongly protect our constitutional freedoms.”

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Kassie Dulin, Director of Legal Communications for First Liberty Institute. Email: kdulin@firstliberty.org, Direct: 972-941-4575, Cell: 214-542-4334.

Dear Coach Kennedy,

I would like to say thank you. Your dedication to your faith and your commitment to the positive education of our youth is truly admirable. I am deeply grateful for your military service and for taking a courageous stance in protecting religious liberty rights for teachers and administrators.

If our First Amendment protects a player’s right to kneel in protest, it certainly protects your right to kneel in prayer.

I was shocked to learn that Bremerton High School suspended you after denying your request to continue your wholesome practice of giving thanks after football games.

The Bremerton School District’s actions violate the law and send the wrong message to coaches, young people, our communities, and our nation — a message of hostility to religious freedom and intolerance toward personal religious expression.

Please know that you are not alone in this difficult time — I support you and First Liberty as you continue to fight for religious freedom! Our schools need more coaches like you, our country needs more citizens like you, and our world needs more people like you.