Update from Kelly: Looking Ahead to a Busy November

November 3, 2023
November Update from Kelly Shackelford | First Liberty Insider

by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read

What a tremendously busy season this is for First Liberty! In just the past month, we filed three federal lawsuits in new cases involving our clients Major Jace Yarbrough, Heather Rooks and the Woolard, Dodson and Gonzales families. These are all religious liberty cases that will impact military service members, public employees and everyday families, like yours.

We also argued at the Texas Supreme Court last week defending Judge Dianne Hensley. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read this if you need a refresher on all the breaking legal battles we’re fighting.

Heading into November, we have a lot of work ahead. There are many legal battles we still need to win. Watch this short message from our President and CEO Kelly Shackelford:

Quick Update on Major Cases 

Here’s a status on many of the other cases that have been going on for a while:

  • Sweet Cakes by Melissa: Christian bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein got a big win when the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the bad decision from below and sent their case back to the state appeals court for reconsideration. The case is “fully briefed,” meaning our attorneys and those representing the state have submitted all documentation. We’re waiting on the Oregon Court of Appeals to issue its ruling.
  • Alaska Airlines: This is the case involving flight attendants Lacey Smith and Marli Brown, who were fired because of their religious beliefs. We’re in the thick of fighting this in federal court. We participated in depositions recently, where attorneys for the other side got to conduct extended interviews with our clients.
  • Valerie Kloosterman: The University of Michigan Health system fired Valerie, a physician assistant, because of her religious beliefs. Her case is pending in federal court, and we got news recently. The judge allowed Valerie’s lawsuit to proceed, which was a big win and step in the right direction so that she can continue her battle for justice.
  • Shields of Strength: This is the case involving Kenny Vaughan’s company, which helps encourage our service members with replica dog tags inscribed with Bible verses. The government keeps asking for more and more information about Shields of Strength’s “product design.” There’s an important hearing coming up next week. Please pray for our attorneys.
  • U.S. Navy SEALs: We went back to federal district court a few months ago to continue fighting for our 35 U.S. Navy SEAL clients, who were punished for seeking religious accommodations to the military vaccine mandate. The other side filed motions seeking to have the case declared moot to avoid an adverse judgment. We submitted a response saying that government officials should be accountable for what they did to our clients and other service members. We’re waiting for the court’s response.
  • CVS: Robyn Strader got fired from CVS MinuteClinic simply because of her beliefs about when life begins. We’re in the middle of legal proceedings in federal court, submitting briefs and getting all necessary evidence submitted.
  • Village of Airmont, New York: Just outside New York City, local officials have discriminated against Orthodox Jewish communities for over three decades. We’ve been fighting this in federal court for 5+ years. It appears we’re close to reaching a favorable outcome for our clients. Stay tuned. We could be announcing some good news very soon!

We ask that you keep praying for our clients and our legal team. We’re ever grateful for prayers. They bring us a lot of encouragement and spiritual strength.

Also, please donate to First Liberty today. The fight for religious freedom is far from over. We need your support to keep fighting and winning these cases.

The Battle Is Not Over | First Liberty Insider

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