Kelly Shackelford | First Liberty

Our Team

About Kelly Shackelford, Esq.

Kelly Shackelford

President and CEO

Kelly Shackelford, Esq., is President and CEO of First Liberty Institute, the largest legal firm in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all Americans. He has served in this role since 1997, leading First Liberty’s efforts to defend religious freedom in the courts and in the public arena. Under his leadership, First Liberty’s legal team has participated in cases before the United States Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, federal district courts and various state courts, where they have won more than 90 percent of their cases.

Shackelford is a constitutional scholar who has argued before the United States Supreme Court, testified before the U.S. House and Senate, and has won a number of landmark First Amendment and religious liberty cases.

He was recently named one of the 25 greatest Texas lawyers of the past quarter-century by Texas Lawyer and is the recipient of the prestigious William Bentley Ball Award for Life and Religious Freedom Defense for pioneering work protecting religious freedom.

Shackelford is a highly sought-after speaker and frequent guest on national news and talk shows including Good Morning America, The Today Show, The O’Reilly Factor, CNN, Fox and Friends, MSNBC, and Hannity. He also has been featured in the National Law Journal, Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, and The L.A. Times, and many others.

Shackelford is on the Board of Trustees of the United States Supreme Court Historical Society and earned his law degree from Baylor University.

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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.