American Center for Law & Justice

American Center for Law & Justice
Formation 1990
Headquarters Washington, D.C., United States
Pat Robertson

The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) is a politically conservative, Christian-based social activism organization in the United States. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and associated with Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The ACLJ was founded in 1990 by law school graduate and evangelical minister Pat Robertson to protect constitutional and human rights worldwide. ACLJ generally pursues constitutional issues and conservative Christian ideals in courts of law.[1][2][3][4] The leaders of the ACLJ also occasionally engage in public debates to present their perspective on legal and Constitutional issues.


The ACLJ arose in part as a Right Leaning Politics to the American Civil Liberties Union. The name and acronym, ACLJ, was chosen to contrast with the ACLU. It has attracted much media attention for its lawsuits, such as its campaign to oppose changes to the constitution of Kenya that, according to the group, would permit abortion and Islamic law,[5] and its attempts to block the construction of an Islamic cultural center near the former site of the World Trade Center.[6]

The ACLJ supported blocking the construction of the center through New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, though the ACLJ in the past has opposed efforts (or what it perceived as efforts) to block churches in the same way. In November 2010, the ACLJ asked that the U.S. Justice Department investigate the Congressional Muslim Staffer Association's weekly prayer session on Capitol Hill, alleging that the organisation demonstrated "a pattern of inviting Islamic extremists with ties to terrorism to participate in these events".[7]

Notable legal cases

The Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice is Jay Alan Sekulow, an attorney and a Christian adherent of Messianic Judaism. The following are some of the cases Sekulow and the Center have argued before the Supreme Court:[8]


In 1997 Jay Sekulow and Thomas Patrick Monaghan, Chief Counsel and Senior Counsel of the ACLJ, respectively, set up the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ) in Strasbourg as part of the ACLJ's international strategy. Sekulow serves as Chief Counsel for the ECLJ. The following year the ACLJ set up the Slavic Center for Law and Justice (SCLJ) in Moscow. Both organizations on the European mainland have a full-time staff of religious rights attorneys.[9] The ECLJ is active in the United Nations Organization and in the Council of Europe, and represents the interests of certain Christians in the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.


The ACLJ is one of several American Christian groups that are promoting conservative Christian laws in Africa, supporting controversial movements regarding LGBT rights, including support for a bill in Uganda that would have implemented the death penalty for homosexuals.[10]


The ACLJ has been criticized by the ACLU for its stance on putting prayer in public school and by Americans United for confounding support of separation of church and state with being anti-religious.[11] The Human Rights Campaign is critical of the ACLJ's finances citing that the organization does not meet "10 out of 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability" and that ACLJ obfuscates how much Sekulow earns from the organization.[12][13][14]


  1. "US Groups Scrutinize Abortion Details in Kenya's Draft Constitution | East Africa | English". May 24, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  2. "No public school graduation ceremony at megachurch: Judge". USA Today. June 1, 2010.
  3. Davenport, Paul (May 18, 2010). "Groups file new challenge to Ariz. immigration law". BusinessWeek. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  4. "Kenya: The 'Yes' Camp Has It Right". June 3, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  5. "United States constitution". BBC. May 4, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  6. "New York Mosque plans face lawsuit". Daily Telegraph. August 5, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  7. AP (April 7, 2010). "Conservative Group Calls on Justice Dept. to Investigate Muslim Prayers on Capitol Hill". Fox News. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  8. "ACLJ Cases". Archived from the original on 3 December 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  9. European Center for Law and Justice, About ECLJ
  10. Kapya Kaoma (Nov 5, 2012). "Major Christian Right Actors Seek to Criminalize Homosexuality in Africa". Political Research Associates. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
  11. Andrews, 1994 (7 February 1994). "How Other Rights Groups View the ACLJ". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  12. "10 Things You Should Know About the American Center For Law And Justice". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  13. "American Center for Law and Justice". Retrieved 7 January 2016. External link in |website= (help)
  14. Smietana, Bob (5 September 2011). "Tenn. lawyer's family, firm collect millions from charities". USA Today. Retrieved 7 January 2016.

External links

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