How the Religious Right's Go-To Lawyer Became Trump's Latest Defender - 2017-06-20
This embarrassing flap raises two questions: Who is Jay Sekulow, and why is he defending Trump?
The first question is more easily answered than the second. Sekulow is a conservative litigator who has spent his career dismantling the constitutional separation of church and state. In 1987, he persuaded the Supreme Court to strike down an ordinance barring Jews for Jesus from proselytizing in Los Angeles International Airport. The issue was close to Sekulow's heart: Although he was raised Jewish, he became a Messianic Jew while attending Atlanta Baptist College (now Mercer University). As he explained in an essay, Sekulow "commit[ted] [his] life to Jesus" at a performance by the Liberated Wailing Wall, the Jews for Jesus' music group.
Sekulow served as the Jews for Jesus' general counsel for several years and founded a nonprofit, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, or CASE, to fund his legal work. In 1991, he moved to the American Center for Law & Justice, a conservative Christian advocacy group founded by Pat Robertson to counteract the American Civil Liberties Union. In his capacity as ACLJ chief counsel, Sekulow continued to argue cases at the Supreme Court, usually defending school prayer and government subsidization of religion. Sekulow also repeatedly attacked "buffer zones" around abortion clinics that prevent protesters from accosting women. He lost that fight but won several high-profile religion cases by asserting that restrictions on religion in schools violate freedom of speech.