Jay Sekulow speaking in 2012
Jay Alan Sekulow
June 10, 1956
|Education||Mercer University (BA, JD)|
Regent University (PhD)
|Occupation||Civil Attorney (ACLJ)|
Pamela McPherson (m. 1978)
|Children||Logan and Jordan Sekulow|
Jay Alan Sekulow (born June 10, 1956) is an American attorney who serves as Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ). He also hosts a talk show that airs on radio and television. Sekulow is a frequent guest commentator on the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Fox News Channel. A self-described Messianic Jew, Sekulow built a legal and media empire over a thirty-year period by representing conservative, religious, pro-life groups.
Sekulow is on President Donald Trump's personal legal team, which is advising the president in connection with the conspiracy investigation, by a team led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller and by various Congressional committees, into links between Trump associates and Russian officials.
Jay Alan Sekulow was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Natalie (née Wortman) and Stanley Sekulow. Sekulow graduated from Lakeside High School in Atlanta, Georgia, and earned a B.A. and a J.D. from Mercer University. While attending Atlanta Baptist College (now the Atlanta campus of Mercer University), Sekulow became interested in Christianity and converted after encountering Jews for Jesus. Sekulow earned a Ph.D. from Regent University in 2005, writing his dissertation on religious influence on Supreme Court Justices and their opinions.
As a young lawyer, Sekulow worked in the Office of Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a tax trial attorney, defending lawsuits in the United States Tax Court on behalf of the United States Department of Treasury. He formed a private practice with Stuart J. Roth that was initially successful, but fell apart after IRS regulations changed in the 1980s. Sekulow filed for bankruptcy in 1987 asserting $13,071,748 in debts and $638,000 in assets. In 1992, Sekulow became the director of the ACLJ, where he serves as Chief Counsel.
In addition to his duties as Chief Counsel for the ACLJ, Sekulow hosts Jay Sekulow Live!, a syndicated daily radio program broadcast on terrestrial radio, and XM and Sirius satellite radios. This live call-in program focuses on legal and legislative topics. Sekulow is the host of ACLJ This Week, a weekly television news program broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Daystar.
Sekulow is thought by some in Washington to have been one of the "Four Horsemen" who "engineered" the nomination of Chief Justice John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court. In 2007, Sekulow endorsed Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. He has opposed the building of Park51, an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan two blocks from the World Trade Center.
In November 2005, Legal Times published an article which alleged that Sekulow "through the ACLJ and a string of interconnected nonprofit and for-profit entities, has built a financial empire that generates millions of dollars a year and supports a lavish lifestyle--complete with multiple homes, chauffeur-driven cars, and a private jet that he once used to ferry Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia." In the article, former donors and supporters claimed that Sekulow engaged in a pattern of self-dealing to finance his "high-flying lifestyle." According to a ranking by the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity watchdog group, Sekulow was the 13th highest paid executive of a charitable organization in the United States.
On June 27 and 28, 2017, The Guardian reported, that documents obtained by them confirmed later that "millions in donations" were steered to his family members, that Sekulow "approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family and their businesses", and that attorneys general in New York and North Carolina opened investigations of Jay Sekulow's group Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE) for possibly using pressure tactics in telemarketer calls to raise money which was allegedly misdirected to Sekulow and his family.
Sekulow and his wife, Pamela (McPherson), have been married since 1978, and have two adult sons, Jordan and Logan. (All four live in Brentwood, TN.)Jordan Sekulow is an attorney with the ACLJ and Director of International Operations. He also co-hosts the radio and television programming with his father. Logan briefly starred in the Nickelodeon series U-Pick Live in 2005. Sekulow was raised Jewish. He converted to Christianity in college and is now a Messianic Jew. His youngest brother Scott is the founder and Rabbi of the Messianic Jewish Congregation Beth Adonai in Atlanta, Georgia. Sekulow also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Supreme Court Historical Society in Washington, DC.
Sekulow has argued in front of the United States Supreme Court 12 times during his career. He has specialized in arguing key issues of the First Amendment. Sekulow most recently argued before the Supreme Court on November 12, 2008 in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, case No.07-665. Sekulow represented the city in this case concerning government control over monuments and memorials in government-owned public places, which ended the following February with the Court ruling in the city's favor. On March 2, 2009, the Supreme Court issued a summary disposition in the companion case of Summum v. Duchesne City. The Court vacated the Tenth Circuit opinion and remanding the case for an opinion consistent with Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460 (2009).
In addition to his work as a Supreme Court advocate, Sekulow, as lead counsel of the ACLJ, has submitted several amicus briefs in support of conservative issues. He has submitted amicus briefs in landmark cases such as Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Rasul v. Bush, Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, and Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation. His amicus briefs for Van Orden v. Perry and Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC were cited by Justices John Paul Stevens and John Roberts respectively. Sekulow served as counsel to Robert and Mary Schindler during the controversy surrounding their daughter, Terri Schiavo. While he is widely acknowledged as a member of the Christian Right, Sekulow's amicus brief in Morse v. Frederick was in support of the ACLU's position; he argued that schools banning "offensive" speech would also be able to prohibit religious speech with which the administrators disagree.
|Board of Airport Commissioners v. Jews for Jesus||1987||Arguing on behalf of Jews for Jesus, Sekulow argued that LAX's policy banning all "First Amendment activities" violated the organization's right to free speech.||Judgment for Jews for Jesus.|
|Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens||1990||Sekulow argued on behalf of students who were denied their request to form a Bible and Prayer club at their school.||Judgment for the Students.|
|U.S. v. Kokinda||1990||Sekulow argued on behalf of two volunteers of the National Democratic Policy Committee who were arrested after refusing to leave the sidewalk near a post office.||Judgment for the United States|
|Lee v. ISKCON||1992||Sekulow served as co-counsel, arguing on behalf of ISKCON against a regulation that prohibited distribution of literature in airport terminals.||Judgment for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.|
|Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic||1993||Sekulow argued on behalf of pro-life activists who were originally found as violating a statute by conducting demonstrations at abortion clinics.||Judgment for the Activists.|
|Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District||1993||In another case involving use of school property, Sekulow represented Lamb's Chapel, and their right to show religious-oriented films in a school after-hours.||Judgment for the Church.|
|Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York||1997||Sekulow argued on behalf of Schenck, challenging a District court ruling that provided for speech-free floating "bubble zones" surrounding abortion clinics.||Judgment for Schenck.|
|Hill v. Colorado||2000||This case revolved around protesters' rights to distribute literature in front of abortion clinics and a statute that barred them from approaching a non-consenting person. Sekulow, representing the protesters, argued that Colorado's "eight-foot rule" was unconstitutional.||Judgment for Colorado.|
|Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe||2000||Sekulow, representing the school district, argued that prayer, initiated and led by students at football games, did not violate the Establishment Clause.||Judgment for Doe.|
|McConnell v. FEC||2003||In a highly publicized case, Sekulow, on behalf of a group of students including Emily Echols, argued that a portion of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 violated the First Amendment and was thus unconstitutional.||Judgment for Echols, et al.|
|Locke v. Davey||2003||Sekulow, representing student Joshua Davey, argued that a statute excluding theology students from publicly funded scholarships was unconstitutional.||Judgment for Locke.|
|Pleasant Grove City v. Summum||2008||Sekulow, representing the city of Pleasant Grove, challenged a Tenth circuit opinion allowing Summum to erect a monument alongside a Ten Commandments monument donated to the city by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.||Judgment for Pleasant Grove City.|
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