December 2014 Church & State | AU Bulletin

A major Religious Right figure has resigned from his position as the dean of Liberty University’s School of Law. Mat Staver, who served as the Virginia school’s second dean and also founded Liberty Counsel, announced his departure in October

Although Liberty’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., praised Staver for his role in shaping the law school, reports indicate that the number of Liberty Law grads passing the Virginia bar has been in decline. WSET-TV in Lynchburg reports that in 2013, barely 64 percent of all Liberty Law grads passed the bar. Other law schools in the state boast higher rates of passage. Liberty Law now ranks seventh out of eight Virginia law schools.

Staver also ignited controversy for Liberty Counsel’s role in a kidnapping scandal. He and fellow Liberty Counsel attorney Rena M. Lindevaldsen represent Lisa Miller, a self-proclaimed “ex-lesbian” who abducted her child and fled to Nic­a­ragua rather than allow her former partner to have court-ordered visitation rights. Although Staver and Lindevaldsen insist they’re unaware of Miller’s current whereabouts, the web­site Right Wing Watch reports that the case is taught as an example of justifiable civil disobedience in Liberty Law courses.

Lindevaldsen has been appointed the law school’s interim dean; a permanent replacement has not yet been announced.