Earlier this week, I was down in DC at a national strategy conference hosted by our legal ministry friends at Alliance
Defending Freedom. This gave me the opportunity to spend some more time with Steve O’Ban, the ADF attorney I’ve been working with on the transgender church lawsuit. As I shared with you last month, ADF is helping four Massachusetts churches file a federal lawsuit to stop the transgender bathroom law from restricting the speech of pastors or forcing men into women’s spaces in our houses of worship. Steve will be coming up to Boston again in two weeks for our first hearing on December 16th at the Moakely Federal Court House. Following ADF’s recent victory in a similar case in Iowa, we are hopeful that Judge Patti Saris will similarly uphold the Constitution’s right to free exercise of religion. I will be at the hearing as well and will report back to you how it goes. This is a critically important case for our religious freedom and is being watched nationally because of its implications.
I also had a chance to ask some of our friends about the prospect of a more conservative judiciary with the incoming administration and Republican-controlled Congress. The news there is very good. In addition to appointing a ninth Supreme Court justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia, there are over 100 federal judges who will need to be appointed in the coming year. The mood was cautiously optimistic at this tremendous opportunity to stock the federal judiciary with conservative judges who will safeguard the Constitution. This will impact us in MA, with one vacancy in federal district court and a total of three in our circuit. This is incredibly important, as cases like the ADF lawsuit will play out in front of federally appointed judges, such as Judge Saris, a Bill Clinton appointee. And it’s not just cases on religious liberty or bathroom privacy that will be affected by a more conservative judicial branch, but laws on abortion, school choice and free speech.
Also at the conference was MFI’s former policy director Jonathan Alexandre, now in his new capacity as lead lobbyist for
Liberty Counsel in DC. I had a chance to catch up with him and hear about how he is now having an impact at the national level. Just yesterday, for example, he was on Capitol Hill for meetings in the offices of Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. But he got his start right here on Beacon Hill with MFI, meeting with pro-family legislators like Ryan Fattman and Jim Lyons. Here’s a photo of him as part of a panel discussion on building alliances across diverse communities of faith.
For our families,