Alliance Defending Freedom

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Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), formerly the Alliance Defense Fund, is an organization that defends religious freedom in litigation and, less than under its prior leadership, the sanctity of life, marriage and the family. While consistently conservative in the past, and while still considered by some to be conservative, it has been under Never-Trump leadership since January 2017, with conservative pro-lifer Alan Sears being replaced by older Trump-critic Michael Farris, a supporter of a Koch brothers-backed Con Con.

In its amicus brief in the high-profile case of Trump v. Hawaii concerning President Trump's executive order limiting travel to the United States from hostile nations, the ADF, while taking the time to submit the brief, pointedly refused to support the Trump Administration on the cover of its brief, and unusually stated further in the text: "ADF takes no position on Proclamation No. 9645 as a matter of immigration or national security policy. It also takes no position on Respondents’ challenge under the Immigration and Nationality Act or any constitutional basis except the Establishment Clause." Additionally, it did not submit a brief in Azar v. Garza, where the Trump Administration tried to prevent an illegal alien from aborting her child. On the other hand, the ADF continued to successfully defend conservative Christians, including in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra and when it defended Christian creationist Andrew Snelling in May 2017.


Thirty-five religious organizations came together to create the Alliance Defense Fund on January 31, 1994, as was explained on its website:

ADF is dedicated to preserving and reclaiming religious freedom. Unlike any other organization in America, this is being accomplished through strategic coordination with other like-minded organizations; training Christian attorneys and the future leaders of America; funding key, precedent-setting cases across America; and, when necessary, direct litigation through our in-house team of Christ-centered attorneys.

See also

Notable Legal Victories

  • In Washington v. Glucksberg and Vacco v. Quill, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the U.S. Constitution does not provide a "right" to assisted suicide.
  • Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc., the Supreme Court struck down the 15-foot "floating bubble zone" wherein religious speech is prohibited by the state.
  • NEA v. Finley, the Supreme Court ruled 8–1 that the tax-funded NEA can refuse to give taxpayer dollars to pornographic and anti-Christian art.
  • Troxel v. Granville, the Supreme Court affirmed the rights of parents over the rights of the government in child rearing.
  • The Supreme Court decided that the Boy Scouts is a private organization and can exclude advocates of homosexual behavior from its leadership.
  • Good News Club v. Milford Central Schools the Supreme Court sided with ADF-funded allied lawyers and decides that middle schools do not violate the U.S. Constitution when they allow Bible clubs to meet after hours.
  • Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the Supreme Court upheld the Ohio school voucher program, allowing parents to remove their children from underperforming public schools and use government vouchers for private or religious schools.
  • City of Los Angeles v. Alameda Books, the Supreme Court upheld the right of communities to regulate pornographic businesses.
  • United States v. American Library Association, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress's mandate that publicly funded libraries provide internet filtering devices in order to protect children is constitutional.
  • Lewis v. Alfaro, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom acted illegally when he directed the city and county clerk to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
  • Van Orden v. Perry, the Supreme Court upheld a Ten Commandments display on the grounds of the Texas Capitol complex, ruling that the Texas display did not violate the Establishment Clause.
  • National Organization for Women v. Scheidler, the Supreme Court once again issued a favorable decision, ruling unanimously that peaceful pro-life activists are not in violation of the federal laws intended to stop organized crime.
  • Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, the Supreme Court ruled that an atheist organization lacks taxpayer standing to challenge the funding of a White House conference that informed both faith-based and secular organizations about federal funding for programs that help the poor.
  • ADF won a total of five cases protecting marriage and the family within the month of May 2008.
  • Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that election law cannot be manipulated to silence speech on religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.
  • Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, the Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot exclude religious organizations from secular programs just because of their religious identity.
  • Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Christian baker ordered by the government to violate his religious beliefs
  • National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, the Supreme Court ruled that laws forcing pro-life pregnancy clinics to promote abortion violated their free speech rights.

External links