ADF honors AG Lynn Fitch, Michael Farris with 2023 Edwin Meese III Awards
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom CEO, President, and General Counsel Kristen Waggoner regarding ADF’s annual Edwin Meese III Originalism & Religious Liberty Award ceremony Thursday. This year’s award recipients are Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch and Michael Farris, former CEO of ADF:
“The Meese Award is the highest award ADF bestows. Attorney General Edwin Meese worked tirelessly to ensure constitutional fidelity through originalism, correctly viewing it as ‘critical to the protection of religious liberty.’ General Meese’s commitment to originalism transformed the law and changed constitutional discourse for generations. This award is presented to leaders who display unwavering courage and commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the protection of our cherished freedoms. This year, I’m honored to present the Meese Award to two outstanding leaders: Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch and Michael Farris.
“General Fitch’s tireless efforts and courage to defend her state’s pro-life law led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and save countless lives. ADF recognizes General Fitch for her significant efforts in publicly promoting and defending our most cherished freedoms and a principled jurisprudence through the active advancement of constitutional originalism. She embodies the enduring commitment to justice that is the hallmark of the American spirit.
“Mike Farris’ lifelong work of safeguarding our freedoms will protect generations to come. He’s not only an accomplished litigator and writer, but also founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, Patrick Henry College, and most recently, served as the president and CEO of ADF, where he oversaw a period of remarkable, God-given growth and impact. Mike has always run toward the fight and had the courage of his convictions to do the right, hard things.”
The award is named in honor of former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, who was the first recipient in 2009. “I am honored to have my name associated with this award, which has been distinguished by the outstanding individuals who have received the award over the past years. That tradition continues today with our two recipients: Lynn Fitch, attorney general of Mississippi, and Mike Farris, who has served as president and CEO of ADF,” Meese said.
Past award recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Robert Bork, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Dr. Albert Mohler, Ambassador Sam Brownback, Chuck Colson, Prof. Robert P. George, and ADF Founder Alan Sears.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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As the CEO, president, and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, Kristen Waggoner leads the faith-based legal organization in protecting fundamental freedoms and promoting the inherent dignity of all people throughout the U.S. and around the world. Waggoner oversees the efforts of more than 400 ADF team members in seven global offices as well as 4,500 network attorneys engaged in litigation, legislation, training, funding, and public advocacy. ADF also provides legal counsel to over 3,500 churches and ministries through its Ministry Alliance program and defends the persecuted church in dozens of countries. Since 2011, ADF has won 14 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, including serving on Mississippi’s legal team in the case that overturned Roe v. Wade. Waggoner successfully argued two of those cases, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Uzuebgunam v. Presczewski and will argue her third case before the Supreme Court in the fall of 2022. She is a Peer Review Rated AV® Preeminent™ attorney in Martindale-Hubbell, who clerked for Justice Richard B. Sanders of the Washington Supreme Court after law school and served in private practice in Seattle for nearly 20 years.