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Michael Farris, former CEO of ADF; Kristen Waggoner, CEO, president and general counsel of ADF; and Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch at the annual Edwin Meese III Originalism & Religious Liberty Award ceremony.

ADF honors AG Lynn Fitch, Michael Farris with 2023 Edwin Meese III Awards

Thursday, May 18, 2023

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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ABOUT Kristen Waggoner

As the CEO, president, and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, Kristen Waggoner leads the faith-based organization in advancing the God-given right to live and speak the truth in the U.S. and around the world. She oversees more than 450 ADF team members in eight global offices. Since 2011, ADF has won 15 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, three of which were argued by Waggoner: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Uzuebgunam v. Presczewski,and 303 Creative v. Elenis. ADF also has a strong record of international success at the European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, and other leading courts and tribunals and has secured the release of more than 1,000 imprisoned Christians. After clerking with Washington Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Sanders, Waggoner practiced law for over 16 years at a Seattle firm before joining ADF in 2013. She is Peer Review Rated AV® Preeminent™ in Martindale-Hubbell. Waggoner is a sought-after public speaker who often appears in national and international media outlets.