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Making an Impact through Supreme Court Advocacy

Alliance Defending Freedom
Published on
Making an Impact through Supreme Court Advocacy

By: James Gottry


A recent blog post discussed Alliance Defending Freedom’s presence—and success—at the United States Supreme Court. Here’s an excerpt:


Since its launch in 1994, ADF has played a role in more than 50 victories at the high court. While its initial involvement was primarily limited to strategy and funding, ADF has increasingly cemented itself as a Supreme Court advocate in recent years. In the last seven years alone, ADF has won seven victories at the Supreme Court protecting religious freedom.

A recent report by Adam Feldman on Empirical SCOTUS reveals that, by the grace of God, ADF has not only been blessed with great success at the Court, but with great success in bringing cases before that Court. Since 2013, ADF Vice President of U.S. Litigation David Cortman was the 5th most successful attorney in the country in achieving cert grants for our clients. (Previous research by Feldman and Alexander Kappner found that between the 2012-2015 terms, ADF was the 10th most successful at persuading the Court to hear its cases.)

The success of ADF in these areas is remarkable in more than one way. As the previous post noted:

More than 7,000 cases are submitted to the Supreme Court each year, but it agrees to hear only about 75 to 80 (about 1 percent). In contrast, and demonstrating the importance of ADF’s work and its status as one of the most respected Supreme Court practices in the country, the Supreme Court has accepted approximately 33 percent of the ADF-supported cases submitted.

While bringing cases before the Supreme Court demonstrates an advocate’s skill and reputation, the Court’s ruling and its resulting impact on society testifies to the importance of the cases themselves.

Although these are great statistics, this success is meaningful only because it indicates that we are succeeding in our efforts to protect your First Amendment right to freely live out your faith. But our work isn’t complete.

Earlier this month, ADF defended Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips before the Supreme Court, asking that it uphold his religious and artistic freedom. The Court’s ruling could impact freedom for us all.


What’s next?


In early 2018, the Supreme Court will hear another ADF case: National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. At issue is a California law, called the “Reproductive FACT Act,” that targets pro-life pregnancy care centers and forces them to promote and advertise for abortion services.

Specifically, private pro-life pregnancy-care centers are required by the law to post signs promoting free or low-cost abortion and contraception services, and to provide contact information for a state agency that refers women to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.


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Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom
Non-profit organization
ADF is the world's largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, marriage and family, and parental rights.