Longtime FedSoc member taps Alliance Defending Freedom for “religious-liberty” training

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr, a Trump appointee and longtime Federalist Society member, ordered three Southwest Airlines lawyers to take eight hours of “religious-liberty training” from extremist hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

The mandated training is the latest development in a lawsuit brought by flight attendant Charlene Carter, who sued Southwest for firing her after she sent anti-abortion messages to her union’s former president. Alliance Defending Freedom was in no way related to the case — until Judge Starr enlisted the far-right group for “training.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has long-designated Alliance Defending Freedom as a hate group for its efforts to roll back critical civil rights. ADF was behind the recent Supreme Court case 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, which undid decades of civil rights protections for LGBTQ Americans. ADF helped overturn Roe v. Wade, and then sued to remove the abortion pill from the national market. The group also used a massive influx in funding to bankroll anti-democratic organizations in support of its radical agenda.

Alliance Defending Freedom is a hate group working to build a movement of far-right legal groups to force a dangerous, unpopular agenda on Americans,” said Accountable.US senior advisor Kyle Herrig.

“It’s no surprise to see an extremist Federalist Society judge push far-right views from the bench, but forcing lawyers to train with a designated hate group is a new low. Groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and the Federalist Society want to strip Americans of their rights and undermine democracy — and Judge Starr is doing their bidding in the courtroom,” continued Herrig.

The Federalist Society, of which Judge Starr has been a longtime member, has been dubbed “the conservative pipeline to the Supreme Court” and operates as America’s most prominent conservative legal organization. Leonard Leo, the organization’s former vice president and current vice chair, has used the group to facilitate lucrative relationships and ultimately reshape federal and state courts. The Federalist Society has ties to all six sitting conservative Supreme Court Justices, and its membership includes numerous individuals who were instrumental to the violent January 6th attack on the Capitol.

Accountable.US launched its Monitoring Influence database to document and track the dark web made up of far-right groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and the Federalist Society. Learn more at MonitoringInfluence.org.


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