American Center for Law & Justice

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American Center for Law & Justice
ACLJ logo.jpg
Formation1990
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States
FounderPat Robertson
Websiteaclj.org
 
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American Center for Law & Justice
ACLJ logo.jpg
Formation1990
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States
FounderPat Robertson
Websiteaclj.org

The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) is a public interest law firm in the United States based in Washington, D.C. and associated with Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The ACLJ, founded in 1990 by law school graduate and evangelical minister Pat Robertson, generally pursues Constitutional issues and conservative Christian ideals in courts of law.[1][2][3][4] The leaders of the ACLJ also occasionally engage in public debates to present their perspective on popular legal and Constitutional issues.

History[edit]

The ACLJ arose in part as a counterweight to what its founders perceived as the more left leaning American Civil Liberties Union, an organization which Robertson has characterized generally as "hostile to traditional American values."[citation needed] The name and acronym, ACLJ, was chosen to contrast with the ACLU. It has attracted much media attention for its lawsuits, such as its campaign to oppose changes to the constitution of Kenya that, according to the group, would permit abortion and Islamic law,[5] and its attempts to block the construction of an Islamic cultural center near the former site of the World Trade Center.[6]

The ACLJ supported blocking the construction of the center through New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, though the ACLJ in the past has opposed efforts (or what it perceived as efforts) to block churches in the same way. In November 2010, the ACLJ asked that the U.S. Justice Department investigate the Congressional Muslim Staffer Association's weekly prayer session on Capitol Hill and halt "what appears to be a pattern of inviting Islamic extremists with ties to terrorism to participate in these events".[7]

Selected legal cases[edit]

The Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice is Jay Alan Sekulow, an attorney and a Christian adherent of Messianic Judaism. The following are some of the cases Sekulow and the Center have argued before the Supreme Court:[8]

Europe[edit]

In 1997 Jay Sekulow and Thomas Patrick Monaghan, Chief Counsel and Senior Counsel of the ACLJ, respectively, set up the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ) in Strasbourg as part of the ACLJ's international strategy. Sekulow serves as Chief Counsel for the ECLJ. The following year the ACLJ set up the Slavic Center for Law and Justice (SCLJ) in Moscow. Both organizations on the European mainland have a full-time staff of religious rights attorneys.[10] The ECLJ is active in the United Nations Organization and in the Council of Europe, and represents the interests of certain Christians in the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Involvement in non-First Amendment cases[edit]

When the ACLJ was granted nonprofit status by the IRS in 1994, it was restricted to taking part in cases involving the First Amendment. However, it has recently taken an active role in opposing President Obama's health-care reform, and its briefs contain no First Amendment arguments. It has also filed lawsuits against Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, and its briefs in that case contain no First Amendment arguments. While the ACLJ's tax lawyer says that both cases involve First Amendment issues, the head of the ACLJ's office in Brentwood, Tennessee says the Planned Parenthood case is a whistleblower case and not a First Amendment one.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "US Groups Scrutinize Abortion Details in Kenya's Draft Constitution | East Africa | English". .voanews.com. May 24, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ "No public school graduation ceremony at megachurch: Judge". USA Today. June 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ Davenport, Paul (May 18, 2010). "Groups file new challenge to Ariz. immigration law". BusinessWeek. Retrieved October 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Kenya: The 'Yes' Camp Has It Right". allAfrica.com. June 3, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2010. 
  5. ^ "United States constitution". BBC. May 4, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  6. ^ "New York Mosque plans face lawsuit". Daily Telegraph. August 5, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  7. ^ AP (April 7, 2010). "Conservative Group Calls on Justice Dept. to Investigate Muslim Prayers on Capitol Hill". Fox News. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  8. ^ "ACLJ Cases". Aclj.org. Archived from the original on 3 December 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  9. ^ "ACLU of Texas and ACLJ Urge State Supreme Court to Enforce Religious Freedom Act | American Civil Liberties Union". Aclu.org. December 6, 2006. Retrieved October 4, 2010. 
  10. ^ European Center for Law and Justice, About ECLJ
  11. ^ Smetana, Bob. ACLJ suits don't focus on First Amendment. The Tennessean, 2011-09-05.

External links[edit]