Alex J. Luchenitser (he/him/his) is the Associate Legal Director at Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Alex has litigated church-state cases throughout the country for Americans United since January 2001. His work has included lawsuits challenging public-school graduations in churches, student-voted prayer at public-school graduations, intelligent-design creationism in public-school science classes, public funding of proselytizing programs for prisoners, public funding of religious discrimination and coercion by sectarian children’s homes, and government-sponsored displays of the Ten Commandments. He was lead counsel in Americans United for Separation of Church & State v. Prison Fellowship Ministries, 509 F.3d 406 (8th Cir. 2007), a successful challenge to a publicly-funded program that sought to “rehabilitate” prisoners by converting them to a fundamentalist form of Christianity. He has also authored and edited many friend-of-the-court briefs filed in federal courts of appeals on behalf of Americans United.
Alex was born in Kiev, Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union), in 1969 and immigrated to the United States in 1977. He received his bachelor's degree magna cum laude in government and economics from Harvard University in 1991, and he received his Juris Doctor with distinction from Stanford Law School in 1994. After finishing law school, Alex served two one-year judicial clerkships, with Justice Warren W. Matthews Jr. of the Alaska Supreme Court, and with U.S. Magistrate Judge Wayne D. Brazil of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Alex then spent four years in private practice in Northern California, participating in the prosecution of class actions on behalf of investors, consumers, and trust beneficiaries.
Alex has spoken about church-state issues in television and radio appearances and public presentations and has been quoted in numerous major newspapers. He is the author of Casting Aside the Constitution: The Trend Toward Government Funding of Religious Social Service Providers, 35 Clearinghouse Review 615 (Jan.-Feb. 2002), and “InnerChange”: Conversion as the Price of Freedom and Comfort — A Cautionary Tale About the Pitfalls of Faith-Based Prison Units, 6 Ave Maria Law Review 445 (Spring 2008). Alex is an active member of the District of Columbia Bar, is an inactive member of the State Bar of California, and has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh, Federal, and District of Columbia Circuits.