John Bursch, Alliance Defending Freedom
John Bursch is senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom. Bursch has argued 12 U.S. Supreme Court cases and more than 30 state supreme court cases since 2011, and a recent study concluded that among all frequent Supreme Court advocates who did not work for the federal government, he had the 3rd highest success rate for persuading justices to adopt his legal position.
Bursch served as solicitor general for the state of Michigan from 2011-2013. He has argued multiple Michigan Supreme Court cases in eight of the last ten terms and has successfully litigated hundreds of matters nationwide, including six with at least $1 billion at stake. As part of his private firm, Bursch Law PLLC, he has represented Fortune 500 companies, foreign and domestic governments, top public officials, and industry associations in high-profile cases, primarily on appeal. He was inducted into the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and serves as a member of the American Law Institute. His work has resulted in repeated listings in Michigan Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers. He is also the principal author of the Michigan Supreme Court’s Guide for Counsel.
Before entering private practice, Bursch served as a law clerk to the Honorable James B. Loken on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. He received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1997 from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he served as Chief Note & Comment Editor for the Minnesota Law Review. Prior to that, he attended Western Michigan University, where he received degrees in mathematics and music performance summa cum laude. He graduated from the Lee Honors College in 1994.
Bursch is admitted to practice in numerous federal district and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Honorable Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz represents 28 million Texans in the U.S. Senate as a passionate fighter for limited government and economic growth. He has authored 39 legislative measures signed into law. Recent victories include expanding 529 college savings accounts to allow parents to save for K–12 public, private, and religious education, leading the effort to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, imposing sanctions on terrorists who use civilians as human shields, designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, reauthorizing and reforming NASA, ensuring the availability of additional records to help solve civil rights cold cases, supporting thousands of Texas jobs, and leading the fight to confirm principled constitutionalists to our courts.
Senator Cruz is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, a former law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and former solicitor general of Texas. He has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court. In November of 2018, he was re-elected to the Senate by the people of Texas.
John Eastman, Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
Dr. John C. Eastman is Founding Director of the Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence; Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute; and until January 2021 served as the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service at Chapman University's Dale E. Fowler School of Law. From 1996 to 1997 he served as a law clerk with the Honorable Justice Clarence Thomas in the United States Supreme Court. After concluding his clerkships, Dr. Eastman took a position with Kirkland & Ellis in Los Angeles until 1999. Upon leaving Kirkland & Ellis, Dr. Eastman began teaching at Chapman University where he served as dean from 2007 to 2010. He also founded the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence in 1999, and has served as its Director since that time.
John is a prolific author. A selection of his scholarly publications include “The Moral Conditions of Liberty” in Freedom and the Rule of Law (2009), “The Roberts Court and Federalism,” in the New York University Journal of Law and Liberty (2009), and “Full Faith and Republican Guarantees: Gay Marriage, FMPA, and the Courts,” in the BYU Law Journal (2006). In the courtroom, he has represented seventeen parties before the Supreme Court of the United States. He has also represented amici curiae in over 150 cases before the Supreme Court in cases such as Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (2014), Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell (2014), Harris v. Quinn (2014), National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning (2014), National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012), Gonzales v. Carhart (2007), and Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000).
Dr. Eastman received his B.A. from the University of Dallas, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from Claremont Graduate School. He completed his studies at the University of Chicago Law School, earning his J.D. in 1995 and immediately took a position clerking for Judge Michael Luttig in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
John Fund, National Review
John Fund is national-affairs columnist for National Review. He worked for the Wall Street Journal for more than two decades, starting in 1984, and was a member of the newspaper’s editorial board from 1995 to 2001.
Fund has written for Esquire, Reader’s Digest, Reason, and the New Republic. He co-wrote Cleaning House: America’s Campaign for Term Limits with James Coyne. In 2004, he wrote Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy. He has written two books with Hans von Spakovsky: Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk and Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department.
Martin Gillespie, The Heritage Foundation
Martin Gillespie serves as Director of Donor Relations and Senior Advisor to the President for Corporate Relations at The Heritage Foundation. Prior to joining Heritage in 2013, he served as Executive Director of American Majority Action, Campaign Manager for Rep. Chris Smith, Political Director for Sen. Sam Brownback, and Deputy Director of Coalitions at the Republican National Committee. From 2001 to 2003, he served as a political appointee at the US Department of Justice.
He received a B.A. with highest honors from Rutgers University and has a Master’s Degree in Management/Fundraising from Avila University.
Kimberly Hermann, Southeastern Legal Foundation
Kimberly Hermann is General Counsel for Southeastern Legal Foundation, an Atlanta-based constitutional public interest law firm and policy center.
Kimberly is committed to promoting individual liberty, the rule of law, and accountability in government. She advances these principles through litigation in federal and state trial and appellate courts in the areas of property rights, free speech, government overreach and abuse of power, and economic liberties.
In addition to representing clients, Kimberly has appeared for the Foundation in nearly 100 amicus briefs on issues ranging from government overreach, separation of powers, economic liberty, property rights, and free speech, among others.
Kimberly has testified before the Georgia legislature on a number of First Amendment issues including election law, political speech, and campus free speech. She has also drafted several pieces of model legislation.
Her work and that of the Foundation has been covered by national media, including Fox News, CNN, Newsmax, Bloomberg News, and the Blaze.
Kimberly earned her B.S. in Analytical Finance and Masters in Accountancy from Wake Forest University, and is a licensed CPA. After working at an international accounting firm, she decided to follow her dream of becoming a constitutional lawyer and go to law school. Kimberly graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University College of Law, where she was business editor of the law review, treasurer of Federalist Society, and president of the St. Thomas More Society. While in law school, she served as a law clerk at SLF. Following law school, Kimberly worked at a private law firm in Atlanta where she specialized in financial and business litigation before deciding to return to the freedom based law movement.
Scott Keller, Lehotsky Keller LLP
Scott Keller is a Founding Partner of Lehotsky Keller LLP. Previously, he worked at Baker Botts, where he was chair of the firm's Supreme Court and Constitutional Law Practice and briefed and argued numerous appeals nationwide. Scott has argued 11 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and has been counsel of record on over 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs, including regulatory, free speech, immigration, election, criminal, environmental, antitrust, intellectual property, and interstate water disputes. The New York Times recently recognized that Scott has been “praised by opponents as a formidable advocate.”
Before joining Baker Botts, Scott served at the highest levels of government. As the former Solicitor General of Texas, Scott was responsible for briefing and arguing the most important and high-profile cases for Texas and its various governmental agencies, so he has significant experience litigating in the Texas Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Before that, Scott served as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz's chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, was a Bristow Fellow in the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of the Solicitor General, and clerked for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Scott regularly speaks and writes on appellate advocacy, and he has made several media appearances. Scott is also a member of the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee, appointed by U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to recommend nominees for federal judicial and U.S. Attorney positions in Texas.
Paul J. Larkin Jr., The Heritage Foundation
Paul J. Larkin, Jr., is the John, Barbara, and Victoria Rumpel Senior Legal Research Fellow in the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Larkin works on criminal justice policy, drug policy, and regulatory policy.
Before joining Heritage in September 2011, Larkin held various positions with the federal government in Washington, D.C. At the U.S. Department of Justice from 1984 to 1993, Paul served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General and argued 27 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also was an attorney in the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.
In 1996-1997, Larkin served as Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and head of the Crime Unit for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), then the panel’s chairman. He worked in the Environmental Protection Agency from 1998 to 2004 as a special agent for criminal enforcement, eventually becoming Special Agent-in-Charge and serving as Acting Director of the EPA Criminal Investigation Division in 2004. His honors include the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service, which he received in 1994 for representing the military before the Supreme Court. In the private sector, he worked at two top law firms in Washington, D.C., and as assistant general counsel for Verizon Communications from 2004 to 2009.
Larkin received his law degree in 1980 from Stanford Law School, where he was a published member of the Stanford Law Review. He clerked for Judge Robert H. Bork of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In 2010, he received a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from George Washington University. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., where he graduated summa cum laude with honors in philosophy.
Born and raised in New York, N.Y., Larkin is a life-long New York Yankees and New York Giants fan.
Elizabeth Locke, Clare Locke LLP
Libby is one of the country’s most sought-after libel lawyers. She is a trusted counselor and fierce advocate for Fortune 100 companies and high-profile individuals facing existential reputational attacks from the national media and other influential publishers, achieving remarkable results for her clients both in and outside the courtroom. Court watchers have called her “as good as they get,” “aggressive and not afraid to litigate,” and someone who has the media savvy to handle high profile matters in the public eye.
After co-founding Clare Locke LLP in 2014, Libby rapidly rose to national prominence for a highly-publicized multi-million dollar trial victory against Rolling Stone magazine about a fabricated gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity. In 2019, she was lead trial counsel and won a $26 million federal jury verdict on behalf of a successful North Carolina businessman who was defamed by a public company during a proxy fight. A commentator opined that “she was excellent in trial and she eviscerated the other side,” and the federal judge concluded that her vigorous cross-examination “exposed [Defendant’s] CEO as a non-credible witness.” A skilled appellate advocate and former federal circuit clerk, in 2019 Libby achieved a rare win against The New York Times on behalf of former Gov. Sarah Palin in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit arising out of a false and defamatory editorial. She is actively litigating matters against a variety of mainstream news outlets, including CNN and The New York Times.
Libby’s success in the courtroom gets her results in the newsroom. She regularly advises clients and their PR counsel in dealing with the national media in crisis situations, and some of her biggest wins are the false stories the public will never hear about. She has killed flawed articles, storylines, and broadcast segments in outlets including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The National Enquirer, and on Bloomberg, CBS and The Dr. Oz Show. Libby has also vindicated her clients’ reputations by obtaining myriad retractions of false publications. Examples include securing a $3.375 million settlement and video apology from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a complete retraction of a Bloomberg podcast, a multi-article correction from The Chicago Tribune, and the removal of a paperback edition book from publication by Simon & Schuster.
Recognized as an expert in libel law and the First Amendment, Libby has been ranked as a Band 1 global defamation/reputation management provider in Chambers & Partners HNW directory every year since its inception in 2016, and a Band 1 First Amendment Litigator in Chambers & Partners USA in 2020. She has numerous national awards and accolades from the National Law Journal, including being named as one of D.C.’s 40 Under 40 in 2019. She is regularly asked to speak on issues involving the First Amendment, media, and reputation, including publishing multiple op-eds in The Wall Street Journal and appearing as a guest on Fox News, CNN, and ABC’s 20/20. Libby has also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and George Washington University Law School.
Libby graduated from NYU’s College of Arts and Science with a degree in Politics and Economics, and she received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. After law school, she clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and then began her career in private practice at Kirkland & Ellis. Perhaps the accomplishment of which she is most proud, Libby is a mom of five. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and law partner, Tom Clare, their children, and the world’s most spoiled Labrador Retriever, Gipper.
John Malcolm, The Heritage Foundation
John Malcolm oversees The Heritage Foundation’s work to increase understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law as director of the think tank’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Before joining Heritage in 2012, Malcolm was general counsel at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom as well as a distinguished practitioner in residence at Pepperdine Law School. From 2004 to 2009, Malcolm was executive vice president and director of worldwide anti-piracy operations for the Motion Picture Association of America.
He served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division from 2001 to 2004, where he oversaw sections on computer crime and intellectual property, domestic security, child exploitation and obscenity, and special investigations. Immediately prior to that, he was a partner in the Atlanta law firm of Malcolm & Schroeder, LLP. From 1990 to 1997, Malcolm was an assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta, assigned to the fraud and public corruption section, and also an associate independent counsel, investigating fraud and abuse in the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Malcolm began his law career as a law clerk to a federal district court judge and a federal appellate court judge as well as an associate at the Atlanta-based law firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan. Malcolm is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia College
The Honorable Elizabeth Murrill, Louisiana Solicitor General
In 2016, Attorney General Jeff Landry appointed Liz Murrill as the first Solicitor General for Louisiana. She has more than 25 years of experience working in diverse state and federal government legal environments and has experience handling complex litigation, state and federal appeals, and complex government transactions. Liz most recently served as the Louisiana Department of Justice's Director of Administration and, before that, Director of the Civil Division. She previously served former Governor Bobby Jindal as Executive Counsel and was Executive Counsel to the Commissioner of Administration. Liz was counsel for the Office of the Governor in the BP Oil Spill litigation and has served as a member and counsel to several state boards and commissions. She was a United States Supreme Court Judicial Fellow in 2007-08 at the Federal Judicial Center and taught appellate advocacy and legal writing at the Louisiana State University Law Center for more than ten years. Liz earned her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University, law degree from the Louisiana State University Law Center where she was Editor-In-Chief of the Law Review, and Master of Laws in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University School of Law. She clerked for U.S. District Judge Frank J. Polozola and Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Melvin Shortess. Liz has argued three cases at the United States Supreme Court (including June Medical v. Russo and Ramos v. Louisiana) and many others at the Louisiana Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the District of Columbia Circuit, and multiple state and federal courts. Additionally, she has filed briefs in courts across the country on a wide variety of constitutional issues.
Nicole Neily, Parents Defending Education and Speech First
Nicole Neily is the president & founder of Parents Defending Education. She is also the president of Speech First, a national campus free speech organization. She previously served as the president of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, an investigative journalism nonprofit focused on highlighting abuses of power, cronyism, and government overreach in the states. Nicole has also worked in the private sector as a senior vice president at Dezenhall Resources, a DC-based communications firm; as executive director and senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum; as manager of external relations for the Cato Institute; and as director of research analysis for the Winston Group, a public opinion and message design firm. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois, and a master’s of public policy from Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, she now lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Clark and two children.
Sarah Parshall Perry, The Heritage Foundation
Sarah Parshall Perry is a Legal Fellow for the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, part of the Institute for Constitutional Government at the Heritage Foundation, where her work centers on civil rights and the proper role of the judiciary. Prior to her tenure at Heritage, Sarah served as Senior Counsel to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education where she focused on policy reform, technical guidance, and the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) annual report to Congress. While at OCR, she was appointed by the Acting Assistant Secretary to co-chair the Employment Engagement, Diversity, & Inclusion Council and, in coordination with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement oversee the hiring of dozens of attorneys for OCR’s 12 regional offices nationwide. Sarah began her practice at the litigation firm of Simms Showers, LLP where her work included Title VII employment discrimination, maritime/admiralty, and False Claims Act (“Qui Tam”) law. She later served as in-house counsel and development director for a Baltimore-based advertising agency, overseeing all business transactions from pitch to contract execution for the multi-million-dollar enterprise. Sarah also spent six years at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. where she was Senior Fellow for Education Reform, the regular substitute host for the “Washington Watch” radio show, and FRC’s Partnership Director, providing building and oversight of multiple cross-disciplinary conservative policy coalitions in the areas of free speech, education, and religious liberty. Sarah has a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was an editor of the Virginia Journal of International Law and a recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award. A frequent radio and television guest on issues of law and policy, Sarah’s commentary and analysis have appeared at the Washington Times, National Review, Human Events, The Federalist, First Things, and The Stream among many others. She is author of the author of three books on the trials and triumphs of parenting children on the autism spectrum, and a member of the Kirkpatrick Society at the American Enterprise Institute.
Vivek Ramaswamy, Entrepreneur and Author of Woke, Inc
Vivek Ramaswamy is an entrepreneur and the author of the forthcoming book Woke Inc. At age 35, he has founded multibillion-dollar enterprises, taken several companies public, trained as a scientist at Harvard and a lawyer at Yale, and grew up as the child of immigrants in a small town in Ohio. In 2014, he founded Roivant Sciences, a biotech company focused on developing transformative medicines faster. In 2020, he emerged as a prominent national commentator on stakeholder capitalism and the spread of woke culture, publishing regularly in The Wall Street Journal, National Review, and Newsweek. He is a frequent guest on Fox & Friends, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and other programs. Mr. Ramaswamy serves on the boards of the Philanthropy Roundtable and Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity.
The Honorable Judd Stone, Texas Solicitor General
Judd E. Stone is the Texas Solicitor General, where he is responsible for representing Texas by directly handling appeals determined significant to the state.
Before joining the Texas Solicitor General’s Office in 2020, Stone was Chief Counsel for Senator Ted Cruz, and previously practiced at Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius in their Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group in Washington. D.C., and at Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick. He also served as an Olin-Searle-Smith fellow at Harvard Law School.
Stone began his legal career as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court, to then-Chief Judge Edith Jones on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and for Justice Daniel Winfree on the Alaska Supreme Court. He received his law degree from Northwestern University, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, Dallas.
John Vecchione, New Civil Liberties Alliance
Mr. Vecchione is a Senior Litigation Counsel for the non-profit New Civil Liberties Alliance representing clients against the Administrative State. He was previously President and CEO of the non-profit Cause of Action Institute, also advancing the constitutional order. He practiced at a number of D.C. area firms, including the eponymous John J. Vecchione Law, PLLC. Mr. Vecchione focuses his practice on strategic litigation in the federal district and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. He is an experienced trial and appellate advocate having tried cases and argued appeals across the country. He is a member of the bars of the State of New York, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States and many federal courts. His cases are reported in scores of published opinions. He has also published pieces advancing the freedom agenda and constitutional order in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and many other forums. He lives in Virginia with his wife Rebecca, sons Tommy and Joe.
Eugene Volokh, UCLA School of Law
Eugene Volokh teaches First Amendment law and a First Amendment amicus brief clinic at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, tort law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy. Before coming to UCLA, he clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Volokh is the author of the textbooks The First Amendment and Related Statutes (6th ed. 2016), and Academic Legal Writing (5th ed. 2013), as well as over 90 law review articles. He is a member of The American Law Institute, a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel, and the founder and coauthor of The Volokh Conspiracy, a leading legal blog. His law review articles have been cited by opinions in eight Supreme Court cases and several hundred court opinions in total, as well as several thousand scholarly articles.
Volokh worked for 12 years as a computer programmer. He graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in math-computer science at age 15, and has written many articles on computer software. Volokh was born in the USSR; his family emigrated to the U.S. when he was seven years old.
Hans von Spakovsky, The Heritage Foundation
Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow and Manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He is an authority on a wide range of issues, including civil rights, elections, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform.
He is a former member of President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. From 2006 to 2007, von Spakovsky was a member of the Federal Election Commission. He served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2002 to 2005. Prior to entering public service, Hans von Spakovsky worked for 17 years as a government affairs consultant, in a corporate legal department, and in private practice.
He is a 1984 graduate of the Vanderbilt University School of Law and received a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981, which he attended on a National Merit Scholarship. He is a member of the boards of the American Civil Rights Union and the Public Interest Legal Foundation.
He is the 2016 winner of the Drs. W. Glenn and Rita Ricardo Campbell Award from the Heritage Foundation and received Meritorious Service Awards from the U.S. Department of Justice in 2003, 2004, and 2005.
von Spakovsky is the coauthor of “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk” (Encounter 2012) and “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department” (HarperCollins/Broadside 2014). His 2011 series “Every Single One” at PJ Media was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and his articles have appeared in Fox News, National Review Online, and the Wall Street Journal.
Scott Walter, Capital Research Center
Walter is president of the Capital Research Center. He served in the George W. Bush administration as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and was vice president for publications and research at the Philanthropy Roundtable. There he edited Philanthropy magazine and also produced donor guidebooks on public policy research, school choice, and assistance to the poor. Walter writes regularly for PhilanthropyDaily.com and previously served as a senior fellow at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and as senior editor of the American Enterprise Institute’s flagship publication. A native of Knoxville, Tenn., he is a graduate of Georgetown University.
Carsten Walter, The Heritage Foundation
Carsten Walter is the senior director of Development at The Heritage Foundation. Walter has worked in Heritage's development office since 1988, previously serving as manager of membership programs. Today he oversees Heritage's communications with hundreds of thousands of members and supporters as well as efforts to expand the think tank’s reach into new donor markets. This includes the membership and grant development programs as well as donor research and database management functions. Before joining Heritage, Walter worked on the Dole for President Campaign. Walter earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Rochester in 1986 and an MBA in marketing from George Washington University in 1995. Walter lives in Gaithersburg, Md., with his wife, Abigail, and their two sons.
The Honorable Don Willett, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Don Willett serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Before joining the federal judiciary, Judge Willett served a dozen years on the Supreme Court of Texas. He has devoted his professional life to public service, and prior to becoming a judge, he served as legal counsel to a Texas Attorney General, a Texas Governor, a U.S. Attorney General, and the President of the United States.
Raised by a widowed mom in a doublewide trailer in a town of 32 people, Judge Willett is his family’s first college graduate. He earned a triple-major BBA from Baylor University and then three degrees from Duke University: JD with honors, MA in political science, and LLM in judicial studies.
After law school, he clerked for Judge Jerre S. Williams on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and then practiced law at Haynes and Boone, LLP before entering public service.
Judge Willett publishes widely and speaks frequently throughout the country. He is a Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke University School of Law and will soon be the Jurist in Residence at J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. He is the former editor in chief of Judicature—The Scholarly Journal For Judges, and has been honored four years in a row for “exemplary legal writing” by The Green Bag. He is a member of the American Law Institute, and a Life Fellow of the American, Texas, and Austin Bar Foundations.
A native Texan, Judge Willett is a former rodeo bull rider and professional drummer, and in 2015 he was named the Tweeter Laureate of Texas. He and his radiant wife, Tiffany, are the exhausted cofounders of three wee Willetts.