The American Center for Law & Justice has one of the most respected and experienced teams of attorneys and staff, who work with international bodies, engage in domestic and international litigation, provide legal services, advise individuals and government agencies, and counsel clients on human rights issues.
Robert W. "Skip" Ash is a Senior Counsel at the ACLJ and at the ECLJ. Ash heads the ACLJ’s national security practice. As such, he deals daily with legal issues concerning Believers in the U.S. Armed Forces, with issues regarding the Law of Armed Conflict worldwide, with issues before the International Criminal Court, with issues before the United Nations and its agencies, and with issues before other international courts in Europe. Ash is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, who served 22 years on active duty as a U.S. Army officer. His service included serving as NATO desk officer in the War Plans division of the Army Staff as well as a military strategist for the Secretary of Defense in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Plans in the Pentagon. Ash is also one of the founders of the M.G. Robertson Global Centre for Law & Public Policy. He currently serves as Secretary of the Centre.
A graduate of Regent University School of Law, Ash has also served as a member of the faculties of the School of Law and the Robertson School of Government at Regent where he taught courses on national security law, public international law, comparative law, First Amendment law, business associations, and legal research and writing.
Director of Government Affairs
Nathanael Bennett is the Director of Government Affairs for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), as well as the Main Representative to the United Nations in New York, NY for the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ). He also assists the ECLJ in its work before the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
In his current capacity, Bennett represents the ACLJ in matters involving Congress and the Executive Branch. This includes serving as a liaison when the ACLJ and Members of Congress share an interest in an issue before the court.
Prior to joining the ACLJ, Bennett served for six years in the office of Congressman Jim Ryun (R-KS), finishing as Legislative Director. He also served on the Transition Team for President George W. Bush.
Bennett holds a Business Management degree from National Louis University, where he graduated summa cum laude.
Senior Counsel for Digital Advocacy
Matthew Clark is Senior Counsel for Digital Advocacy with the ACLJ in the Washington, D.C. headquarters. Matthew Clark has authored numerous articles for such publications as the Washington Post, the Washington Times, and the Washington Examiner on critical constitutional and policy matters facing our nation and the fight for human rights worldwide. He is also a Contributing Editor at RedState.com. Prior to rejoining the ACLJ, where he clerked while in law school, Matthew Clark served as Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Walter S. Felton, Jr., Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Matthew Clark earned a Juris Doctor and Master's Degree in Public Policy from Regent University where he served as the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Regent Journal of Law and Public Policy. He also currently serves as a Senior Research Associate for the M.G. Robertson Global Centre for Law & Public Policy. He also participated in the inaugural symposium on Persecution, Peace and Reconciliation held at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford in 2015.
Andy Ekonomou is Senior Counsel for the ACLJ.
CeCe Heil is a Senior Counsel specializing in public policy and global legal matters including the United Nations. She heads a team of lawyers handling cases in defense of life, protection of US National Security interests and dealing with Islamic extremism.
Before joining the ACLJ, Heil worked in private practice in Missouri and Tennessee serving as counsel to many internationally recognized clients and is on the board of several national ministries. She is a recognized leader in her work to have pro-family, pro-life and pro-free enterprise policies enacted, including being a candidate for Congress. Her service and knowledge as a Constitutional scholar earned her the support of Sarah Palin and was one of a handful of candidates named as a “Mama Grizzly” by the former Alaska Governor.
Heil is a 1992 graduate of Regent University School of Law. She is admitted to practice in California, Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, and before the United States Supreme Court.
Laura Brown Hernandez is a Senior Research Counsel at the ACLJ emphasizing in constitutional litigation at the federal appellate level and has participated as amicus curiae counsel in numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
A graduate of The University of Richmond Law School in Richmond, Virginia, Hernandez clerked for the Honorable John D. Butzner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit before gaining extensive experience in private practice at law firms in Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia.
She has served as an adjunct professor of legal writing at Regent University where her husband, Michael V. Hernandez, serves as Professor of Law.
Senior Counsel and Director of Policy
Harry G. Hutchison is Senior Counsel and Director of Policy for the ACLJ. He has served as a Professor of Law at the Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University. He was a Visiting Fellow at Harris Manchester College’s Summer Research Institute in June and July 2014. He was also a Founding Fellow of the M.G. Robertson Global Centre for Law & Public Policy. His research interests include international affairs, corporate governance, labor and employment law, religious liberty and the application of economics to a variety of topics. He has produced more than fifty law review articles, review essays, public policy studies, and Civil Rights opinions. Most of his articles apply economics and history to a wide variety of topics. His last article, Hobby Lobby, Corporate Law and Unsustainable Liberalism: A Reply to Chief Justice Strine, was published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.
Francis J. Manion is Senior Counsel with the ACLJ who emphasizes First Amendment law and pro-life legal matters before state and federal courts.
A 1980 graduate of Seton Hall School of Law, Manion honed his litigation skills with more than 15 years of experience as a trial attorney in private law firms where he served as trial counsel on behalf of pro-life demonstrators. He joined the ACLJ in 1996 and emphasizes protecting constitutional rights in the public school, the work environment, and the public arena.
Manion also emphasizes defending the public displays of the Ten Commandments and other historic displays that are part of our nation’s heritage. He also focuses on safeguarding the rights of medical personnel who are often required by employers to violate their consciences and religious beliefs by participating in pregnancy-ending procedures.
Senior Counsel and Director of the Washington Office
Colby M. May is Senior Counsel and Director of the Washington Office of the ACLJ. May represents members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate on legislative initiatives involving national security, abortion, marriage, and pornography. With the ACLJ since 1994, May emphasizes federal litigation, regulatory proceedings, communications and technology, non-profit tax issues, and First Amendment law.
May, a graduate of the George Mason University School of Law, has argued, participated in, or acted as amici curiae counsel in several landmark cases including Branch Ministries, Inc. v. Richardson, Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, National Interfaith Cable v. FCC, and National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley.
He also serves on the board of directors of many civic organizations including the Enterprise Development International, Inc. – a public charity fostering development in emerging countries, and Enough is Enough! – a pro-family organization working to make the Internet safe for children.
Thomas P. Monaghan is Senior Counsel of the ACLJ with extensive experience involving protecting the sanctity of human life. With experience as both a public defender and prosecuting attorney, Monaghan sharpened his legal skills in private practice and has extensive trial and appellate experience.
Monaghan has studied at the London School of Economics, Brandeis University, and Vanderbilt University. He is a decorated Vietnam War veteran having received the Bronze star.
Monaghan has handled dozens of trials throughout the country and is considered one of the best trial attorneys in the United States. Monaghan also oversees the European Center for Law and Justice located in Strasbourg, France. Monaghan is one of the founders of the American Center for Law and Justice and has worked with ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow since 1986.
Stuart J. Roth serves as Senior Counsel to the American Center for Law and Justice and the European Center for Law and Justice. Roth attended law school with Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow and they have practiced law together since 1980. He is a nationally known and recognized constitutional lawyer and over the years has appeared on hundreds of national television and radio broadcasts sharing his legal analysis and commentary.
Stuart J. Roth has participated in 12 cases that have been argued before the United States Supreme Court including the landmark decisions in Mergens and Lambs Chapel that altered the landscape of religious liberties litigation. Roth has also been involved in cases before the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court.
Roth has an extensive legal background in the areas of tax, corporate and civil litigation and has also served as General Counsel to numerous corporate entities. He is a graduate of Florida State University and Mercer University School of Law.
Geoffrey Surtees is an attorney with the ACLJ and specializes in religious civil liberties. Geoff is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law and holds a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies (summa cum laude) from the Pontifical Lateran University. Since joining the ACLJ as an attorney in 2001, Geoff has been active in a wide array of First Amendment cases, including the free speech rights of pro-life demonstrators and public school students. He has also participated in cases involving the conscience rights of medical personnel and the religious rights of public and private employees.
Chief of Staff
Miles Terry is Chief of Staff for the American Center for Law and Justice. He also previously served as Senior Counsel for Government Affairs and a Representative to the United Nations in New York, NY for the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ).
Terry earned his Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, VA where he was a member of the James Kent American Inn of Court and the Phi Alpha Delta International Law Fraternity, George Washington Chapter. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from Appalachian State University and Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina.
Terry is admitted to practice law in The State of South Carolina, The State of Tennessee, the District of Columbia, and various Federal District and Circuit Courts.
He is also admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Walter M. Weber is Senior Counsel for the ACLJ in the Washington, D.C. office. A highly regarded legal writer, Weber received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his law degree from Yale Law School.
Weber emphasizes First Amendment law and has written briefs in many landmark cases at the Supreme Court including NOW v. Scheidler, Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches School District and Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic.
Weber has argued more than a dozen times in appeals before federal and state courts. Prior to joining the ACLJ, Weber served as a staff attorney with the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
Edward White is Senior Counsel with the ACLJ and has been practicing law for more than twenty-five years. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, where he was a Thomas J. White Center for Law & Government Scholar and managing and student articles editor of the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy.
He began his legal career by having the privilege to serve as a law clerk for three judges, gaining experience on a number of state and federal legal matters. White clerked for the Honorable G. Kendall Sharp of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the Honorable Bobby W. Gunther of the Florida District Court of Appeal for the Fourth District, and the Honorable Daniel A. Manion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
After his judicial clerkships, White worked as an associate in a products liability law firm. He then served for five years as an Assistant United States Attorney, handling federal civil and criminal cases at the trial and appellate court levels.
Since 2000, White has been specializing in civil rights litigation, representing clients across the country primarily in the areas of free speech, religious freedom, sanctity of human life, and traditional family values.
Senior Counsel for International and Government Affairs
Jeff Ballabon is Senior Counsel for International and Government Affairs at ACLJ where he focuses on both legislation and litigation. A graduate of Yale Law School and former Senior Vice President of CBS News, Jeff served as Republican Counsel to the US Senate Commerce Committee and Legislative Counsel to Sen. John Danforth (R-MO). His clients have included the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem and numerous American victims of Palestinian terror whom he represented before the White House, State Department, Justice Department and Congress. At Israel’s Ministry of Justice, Jeff worked on the legal status of the disputed territories as well as the first formulation of Israel’s Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty.
Special Counsel for International Affairs
Rabbi Dr. Mark Goldfeder, Esq. is Special Counsel for International Affairs at the ACLJ, Senior Lecturer at Emory Law School and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion.
Special Counsel for Government Affairs
Craig Parshall is Special Counsel for Government Affairs for the ACLJ. He has hosted and moderated numerous Washington D.C. roundtables on Internet freedom issues, and serves as Special Counsel to the American Center for Law & Justice. He has frequented testified before committees of Congress, most recently on behalf of ACLJ before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee regarding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Craig is also a New York Times best-selling fiction writer, with his eleven suspense novels often featuring breaking trends in technology. He is married to nationally syndicated radio talk show host Janet Parshall.
Senior Counsel for Litigation and Public Policy
Benjamin P. Sisney serves as Senior Counsel for Litigation and Public Policy at the ACLJ’s Washington D.C. office. He also serves as the ACLJ's Director of FOIA Practice. Sisney practiced law in Oklahoma City for five years, following the conclusion of his two-year clerkship with United States District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell in Tulsa, two years with the American Center for Law and Justice in Virginia, and a Legal Fellowship with Senator James M. Inhofe in Washington, D.C. Sisney graduated from Regent University School of Law in 2007. As a law student, he interned with an Oklahoma District Attorney's office and Oklahoma’s oil and gas administrative law court. Sisney’s practice has focused in the areas of government affairs and accountability, international and United Nations affairs, pro-life litigation and issues, family law, First Amendment law, and religious liberty.
Senior Military Analyst
Chaplain Colonel (Retired) J. Wesley Smith is a Senior Military Analyst at the American Center for Law and Justice. He served 26 years in the Army, with two combat deployments. Prior to his retirement in 2013 Wesley was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Chaplains (Headquarters Department of the Army) with duty as the Senior Army Chaplain at Dover Air Force Base and the Dover Port Mortuary, as well as the senior-ranking Army Chaplain for over-watch of all Casualty Operations. Wesley organized the first Joint Service Team at the Dover Casualty Mortuary Operations Center. In that assignment, Chaplain Smith also re-designed the Casualty Notification system for the entire Army and was charged with implementing the training Army-wide.
In his military career, he served as a Field Artillery Battalion Chaplain, a Field Hospital Chaplain, a Battalion and Assistant Brigade Chaplain with US Army Aviation, and as the Brigade Chaplain for the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division. He served four years as the Religion and Culture Analyst for Army Central Command (ARCENT) where he advised the Commanding General’s staff on the impact of religion and culture on the Army’s mission in the 17 countries in which ARCENT operated.
His military education includes the Chaplain Officer Basic Course, the Chaplain Officer Advanced Course, Combined Armed Services Staff School, The Chaplain Colonels Course, and the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Chaplain Smith holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity Degree from Vanderbilt University, and the Doctor of Ministry Degree from the University of the South at Sewanee. He received his Master’s Degree in Law with a focus in National Security from Regent University. He is an Episcopal Priest affiliated with the Diocese of Atlanta.
Among his awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Meritorious Unit Citation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon with the numeral 3, the Saudi Arabia Liberation of Kuwait Medal and the Kuwait Liberation of Kuwait Medal.
Associate Counsel for Public Policy
Olivia Summers is Associate Counsel for Public Policy with the ACLJ, focusing on pro-life advocacy and protecting the freedoms of speech and religion. Olivia earned her Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law. While at Regent, Olivia clerked for the ACLJ and served as a board member for Regent Journal of International Law, was a member of the Honor Council, and was actively involved in Regent Students for Life. In addition, Olivia spent one summer interning at the ECLJ where she gained experience in international law and human rights issues. Prior to attending Regent, Olivia earned her B.A. in History from the University of Wyoming. Olivia joined the ACLJ full-time after graduating from Regent. She is admitted to practice in Virginia and Washington D.C.
Senior Litigation Counsel
Shaheryar Gill serves as Senior Litigation Counsel with the ACLJ in Virginia Beach, where he works on international religious freedom issues. He also oversees ECLJ’s affiliate office in Pakistan, which provides legal assistance to persecuted Christians. Shaheryar has authored numerous country reports submitted to UN agencies, detailing the situation of religious freedom, and has co-authored several ACLJ publications. He has represented clients from several countries in religious persecution cases. Shaheryar has also served as an expert witness in asylum cases before the United Kingdom’s Immigration and Asylum Tribunal. He is a graduate of Handong International Law School in South Korea, where he served as Senior Editor of Joint Regent-Handong Journal of International Law. He received his LL.M. from Regent University School of Law. Shaheryar has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Regent University School of Law, where he has taught Public International Law and guest lectured on National Security Law and Christian Foundations of Law. He is also a Fellow of theM.G. Robertson Global Centre for Law & Public Policy.
Senior Litigation Counsel
Marshall H. Goldman serves as Senior Litigation Counsel with the American Center for Law and Justice where he works on both domestic and international matters, particularly with respect to Israel. For several years, he has assisted ACLJ Senior Fellow and former U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft. He is also a Senior Research Associate for the M.G. Robertson Global Centre for Law & Public Policy.
Mr. Goldman received his Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) from Oral Roberts University; his Master of Arts in Public Policy degree from the Robertson School of Government at Regent University (where he was the recipient of the Outstanding Research Award for distinction in scholarship); and his Juris Doctor degree from Regent University School of Law.
Mr. Goldman is admitted to practice law in the state of Virginia as well as before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Senior Litigation Counsel
John Monaghan serves as Senior Litigation Counsel in the ACLJ’s Virginia Beach office. He has been practicing since 2005. John started in criminal defense as a part time assistant public defender. Eleven years and many trials later, he left private practice and joined the ACLJ.
Senior Litigation Counsel
Abigail Southerland serves as Senior Litigation Counsel with the ACLJ. She specializes in First Amendment litigation and represents clients across the country in both state and federal courts, from complaint through trial and appeal. Abigail obtained a key victory for religious employers in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She presented oral argument before the court, securing the first decision issued by a U.S. court of appeals since the Supreme Court’s decision in Hosanna-Tabor, that a religious organization’s right to choose its ministers and spiritual leaders free from federal and state government interference – a protection known as the ministerial exception – is a limitation imposed on the government that cannot be waived. Abigail represents a variety of clients including private individuals, non-profit organizations, school boards and local government bodies. Abigail is a 2007 graduate of Regent University School of Law where she served as Managing Editor of the Regent Journal of International Law and authored a note published in the journal addressing the conflict between First Amendment freedoms and antidiscrimination laws.
Christina Stierhoff serves as an Associate Counsel with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), where she works primarily in the areas of First Amendment issues and international human rights. Christina received a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs with Distinction from the University of Virginia, and her Juris Doctor with Honors from Regent University School of Law. She served as a Staff Editor for the Regent University Law Review and a Senior Editor for the Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy, where she authored a comment published in the Journal addressing the European Court of Human Rights’ decision protecting the life of an unborn child in Parrilo v. Italy. Prior to her work for the ACLJ, Christina garnered legal experience during her apprenticeships at the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach and the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ). Additionally, Christina received the Best Brief – Regional Award and the Second Best Brief – World Award in Oxford University’s Price Media Law Moot Court Competition in 2016. Christina is admitted to practice law in the state of Virginia.
Senior Litigation Counsel
Michelle K. Terry serves as Senior Litigation Counsel for the ACLJ. She is a graduate of Regent University School of Law, where she was a Senior Editor for the Regent University Law Review. Upon graduation, Michelle was awarded the Phi Delta Phi Award from the International Legal Fraternity for Professional Responsibility.
During her time with the ACLJ, Michelle has served as liaison to the European Centre for Law and Justice while assisting ACLJ Senior Fellow and former U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft. Michelle has also worked on cases involving religious liberty issues arising in America’s public schools and institutions of higher education, as well as matters regarding an individual’s freedom of speech in the public square.
Michelle is a member of the South Carolina, Tennessee, and District of Columbia Bars. She is also admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as various federal district and circuit courts. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma State University.
Senior Litigation Counsel
Erik Zimmerman serves as Senior Litigation Counsel with the ACLJ. He joined the ACLJ as a student law clerk in 2003 and began working as a full-time attorney in 2005.
Erik has assisted clients in a variety of contexts, primarily in the areas of freedom of speech, religious liberty, and the sanctity of human life. He has also authored or co-authored numerous articles published in law reviews and law journals, such as the Stanford Law and Policy Review, on topics such as student free speech rights, parental rights in education, and the constitutionality of governmental displays of the Ten Commandments.
Erik graduated top of his class at Niagara University, where he received a B.A. in Political Science. He received his J.D. from Regent University School of Law, graduating third in his class, and also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Regent University Law Review.