Attorney Jay Sekulow, a Jewish convert to evangelical Christianity, came to national prominence in 1987, after successfully arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Jews For Jesus, which protested a policy at Los Angeles International Airport banning all forms of solicitation.
Three years later, Sekulow, under the auspices of Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE), a group he founded, argued another case at the Supreme Court. This time he represented Bridget Mergens, a public high school student in Washington state who wanted to form a Bible club.
Sekulow’s successful litigation of the cases impressed TV preacher Pat Robertson, who hired Sekulow to run the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), an organization Robertson perceived as a fundamentalist Christian answer to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Robertson and Sekulow have used the ACLJ to chip away at the church-state wall, erode abortion rights, oppose gay rights and push other Religious Right social goals. Sekulow, 53, was also close to the Bush administration and helped vet Supreme Court nominees.
Sekulow has a considerable media presence. His daily radio show, “Jay Sekulow Live,” is heard on 850 stations, and his weekly television program “ACLJ This Week,” appears on several major Christian networks.
At first glance, the ACLJ’s funding appears to be slipping. In 2006, Church & State reported an annual budget of $14,485,514 for the group. The most recent Form 990 puts that figure at $11,667,456. That number is misleading, however. CASE still exists and operates in tandem with the ACLJ. CASE brought in $35.3million last year, making the Sekulow operation’s income considerably higher than it appears to be.
In recent years, the group has been dogged by allegations that Sekulow collects an enormous salary and that CASE has purchased several homes for him. This does not appear to have slowed down the group’s fundraising.
Sekulow Quote: “They have taken prayer out of schools…the Ten Commandments out of the courts…now they are trying to stop us from even mentioning God in public. This is an outrage.” (ACLJ fundraising letter, June 2006)