A Shameless Campaign Smearing One of America’s Strongest Conservative Judges

March 17, 2023
Matthew Kacsmaryk | First Liberty Institute

by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read

Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, who serves on the U.S. Northern District Court of Texas, has recently been the target of a shameless smear campaign.

Contrary to what’s being said, Americans would be well served to know this: Judge Kacsmaryk is a stellar judge, one of our country’s foremost protectors of the Constitution and the rule of law.

Why is he being attacked and defamed? Because he will soon rule in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This case involves several medical groups and doctors who sued in court challenging the FDA’s approval of the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone, which can be prescribed in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. The outcome will determine if this pill remains available on the market.

When Judge Kacsmaryk heard arguments in the case earlier this week, hundreds of activists rallied outside the courthouse. He has also received death threats and harassing phone calls.

Judge Kacsmaryk has yet to issue a decision. But leading up to oral argument, he’s been excoriated in the press.

These media attacks vilifying Judge Kacsmaryk are wrong. They mischaracterize and distort his distinguished legal career and faithful service as a federal judge. Make no mistake. This is nothing more than a brazen attempt by radical groups whose primary focus is advancing an extreme ideology and agenda. It’s not about a supposed concern for the rule of law. It’s all about intimidating a federal judge so they can get around decisions they don’t like.

Judge Kacsmaryk is eminently qualified to serve on the federal bench. His record shows it. He graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and immediately went into private practice at one of the top law firms in the country. He then served for several years a federal prosecutor and received the U.S. Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in 2013. He was a long-time member of the renowned and respected Federalist Society.

What appears to be the biggest offense for radical groups is Judge Kaczmaryk’s background litigating religious liberty cases. Prior to joining the judiciary, Kacsmaryk served from 2014 to 2019 as Deputy General Counsel for First Liberty Institute.

Texas Monthly went into detail criticizing and misrepresenting his religious freedom litigation experience. The piece also conveniently quotes opponents who misrepresent First Liberty’s work. Our organization represents and defends people of all faiths.

Ironically enough, much of what Texas Monthly writes proves their own argument wrong. They discuss many of our legal cases and clients we’ve successfully represented, from Coach Joe Kennedy, the Bladensburg Peace Cross, our U.S. Navy SEAL clients and religious service members, Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack and a few others. They also mention a couple (among many) religious minorities we’ve defended, including Jewish congregations and a Native American sweat lodge.

Contrary to Texas Monthly’s inference, Judge Kacsmaryk understands the importance of hearing diverse viewpoints.

As an attorney at First Liberty who represented and worked on behalf of clients of all faiths, beliefs and creeds, he knows what it means to give all Americans equal treatment before the law. He dedicated years to defending the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom for all—and this only helped strengthen, not weaken, his qualifications as an impartial federal judge.

At his 2017 Senate hearing, he made clear: “As a judge, I’m no longer in the advocate role. I’m in the role of reading and applying with all good faith whatever Supreme Court and 5th Circuit precedent is binding.”

For Americans worried about their religious freedom and growing attacks on their constitutional rights, Judge Kacsmaryk is precisely who you want on the bench. When he was confirmed to the bench 2019, he took a special place in history. He became the first judge to ever go directly from a nonprofit religious liberty nonprofit legal organization to the federal bench. That’s something we should celebrate—even though our opponents prefer to criticize it.

Judge Kacsmaryk is a true originalist committed to applying the Constitution according to its original meaning and intent. Radical opponents may groan, but his record demonstrates he’s one of our nation’s best and brightest legal minds, someone who will treat all cases fairly and rule according to principle, not politics.

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