by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read
Oral argument in Coach Kennedy’s case is fast approaching. And First Liberty has one of America’s top litigators on our team: Paul Clement. He will be arguing before the nine justices on April 25th.
Winning for Coach Kennedy at the Supreme Court would finally bring justice to this Marine-turned-football coach, after a school district unjustly fired him for kneeling on the 50-yard line for a brief, personal prayer. A win could also impact government employees nationwide, helping safeguard their constitutional rights.
Few attorneys have a record as distinguished as Clement.
He is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, ranked among the top 10 law firms in the world. The firm is frequently listed as a top advocate at America’s highest court. For example, it argued five cases during the last Supreme Court term, more than any other law firm. It won all five cases. Clement argued four of them.
In addition to his decades in private practice, Clement served as U.S. Solicitor General from 2004 to 2008. That’s the top attorney who represents the federal government at the Supreme Court. He is a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia. He earned his law degree from Harvard University.
Especially impressive is that Clement is among a handful of lawyers with 100 or more arguments at the Supreme Court. According to Chief Justice John Roberts, only two others have accomplished this milestone in the past hundred years.
How did First Liberty manage to draft such a distinguished and accomplished lawyer for #TeamKennedy? It’s thanks to our volunteer network attorney model.
While other nonprofit legal organizations rely mainly on staff attorneys, First Liberty does something different, unique and innovative. We combine the experience and dedication of our in-house attorneys with a national network of volunteer attorneys from the nation’s top law firms—such as Kirkland & Ellis.
These world-class lawyers donate their time to defend our clients free of charge. They are seasoned experts in their field and know the ins-and-outs of the law in the states and regions where they practice, giving First Liberty a distinct “home-field” advantage when arguing cases.
Thanks to this model—and to God’s favor—First Liberty maintains an unparalleled victory rate, winning more than 90% of all legal matters.
It’s a blessing to have Paul Clement at the forefront of this crucial battle to restore Coach Kennedy’s constitutional rights. He’s certainly no stranger to the Supreme Court, and First Liberty supporters should also be encouraged that he’s argued several religious freedom cases—all which resulted in important victories.
In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (2014), Clement defended Christian business owners who were being forced under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate to provide abortion-inducing drugs in violation of their deeply held religious convictions. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby, Mardel and Conestoga Wood Specialties. This was a landmark win for freedom and conscience rights recognizing that business owners are free to live and work according to their beliefs without the fear of government coercion.
Clement also argued in defense of a group of Catholic nuns in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania (2019). The Little Sisters of the Poor—a religious organization that cares for the impoverished elderly—fought in court for nearly a decade, because the ACA contraceptive mandate presented an impossible choice between compliance with federal law and the teachings of their faith.
The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Little Sisters. It held that the Trump administration had the authority to exempt organizations with religious and moral objections to the contraceptive mandate. This was a key victory for religious liberty, giving millions of Americans the freedom to opt out of the mandate.
Clement was Acting Solicitor General when the Court heard Van Orden v. Perry (2004). He argued in favor of a Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol lawn. In a 5-4 decision, the Court upheld the monument as constitutional and stated that “simply having religious content or promoting a message consistent with a religious doctrine does not run afoul of the Establishment Clause.”
Paul Clement is the best of the best at the Supreme Court: A stellar litigator with a proven record of success, someone we’re confident can help First Liberty bring victory for Coach Kennedy.
As oral argument quickly approaches, your support is essential. We need your prayers and financial support.
Your donation helps First Liberty partner and work with acclaimed lawyers like Paul Clement. It’s how we can keep providing the best legal defense for Americans—at no cost to them.
Plus, your donation right now will have a MULTIPLIED IMPACT in defending Coach Kennedy thanks to a $500,000 CHALLENGE GRANT—the biggest in First Liberty’s history.
April 25th is the last day to maximize your impact. Please give to First Liberty today.