Around the Institute: What’s Happening at First Liberty

June 16, 2023
Around the Institute | First Liberty Institute

A weekly roundup of important headlines and exciting things happening at First Liberty.

CRCD Scholars Receive Heritage Foundation Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prize

Please join us in congratulating two of First Liberty’s Fellows at the Center for Religion Culture & Democracy, Dr. James Patterson and Dr. Catherine Pakaluk, who recently received the Heritage Foundation’s Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prize.

They are the first recipients of this prize, alongside a list of highly-credentialed and respected academics from some of the nation’s top universities.

The Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prize was launched with the purpose of supporting professionals in higher education. It recognizes and provides financial awards to faculty at higher education institutions as they write and disseminate original research and develop projects and programs that explore topics such as education, election integrity, regulation and spending, life and family, freedom and economic opportunity.

“We are proud to award the Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prize to these scholars,” said Heritage Foundation president Dr. Kevin Roberts. “From fighting the politicization of corporate governance to standing up for marriage and family life, these distinguished educators are advancing the truth in the university, which is sorely needed in our current academic climate.”

Patterson Pakaluk

First Liberty Attorney Testifies at Texas Legislature

First Liberty Vice President of Litigation & Senior Counsel David Hacker testified before the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee on the constitutionality of a bill allowing public school employees to engage in religious speech or prayer while on duty. The committee also considered bills to require Texas public schools to post the Ten Commandments in classrooms, and allow for a moment of silence or prayer during each school day.

Watch David’s testimony below:


Houston Chronicle: Texas House prepares for ‘all but certain’ special session on school vouchers

Congratulations Larissa Daggett for 10 Years of Service

First Liberty Senior Program Support Specialist Larissa Daggett is celebrating 10 years at the organization. Larissa’s positive attitude always inspires everyone around her to give their best. Her work behind the scenes is an essential part of our organization’s journey and success.

Larissa, your work ethic is commendable, and we are truly blessed to have you on our team. Thank you for your dedication, passion and the joy that you bring to the office each and every day. We wish you a happy work anniversary and look forward to many more years of work together.

Larissa Daggett | First Liberty

Time to Restore Pro-Life Speech

First Liberty Senior Counsel Roger Byron wrote an op-ed for The Washington Times discussing our lawsuit on behalf of Wendy Faustin. She is being targeted by an unconstitutional state law that targets faith-based pro-life speech. Byron writes:

“For years now—a lot of years—the Supreme Court has relegated to second-class status, at best, the speech rights of those who oppose abortion…At its core, free speech means that the government can’t squash or silence messages it doesn’t like. Nor can it punish the people who voice those messages. Preventing that kind of government action is why the Founders adopted the First Amendment.”

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