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Kelly Shackelford, Constitutional Scholar and President of First Liberty Institute, Endorses E.C. Sykes for Secretary of State

Raleigh, NC—Today, Kelly Shackelford, President and Chief Counsel of First Liberty Institute*, announced his endorsement of E.C. Sykes for North Carolina Secretary of State.

“As a national leader fighting for religious liberty for over 30 years, I’ve seen a lot of people run for office and the important thing is figuring out what this person is going to do— are they really going to stand? I’ve found, as a private citizen, what really matters is what they’ve done before they ran for office, and that’s why I’m so fully behind E.C. Sykes,” said Shackelford in a video recorded for the campaign. “E.C. has been a friend of mine for many, many years. I’ve watched him in the trenches. He’s a man who has been faithful and stands for North Carolina values, Christian values, conservative values—there’s no doubt about that. I won’t ever have to worry about where E.C. stands on a religious freedom issue and as a guy who’s spent my entire career fighting for that, that’s very important to me. So, I am fully one-hundred percent behind E.C. Sykes for Secretary of State.”

Kelly Shackelford, Esq., is President and CEO of First Liberty Institute, the largest legal firm in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all Americans. He has served in this role since 1997, leading First Liberty’s efforts to defend religious freedom in the courts and in the public arena. Under his leadership, First Liberty’s legal team has participated in cases before the United States Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, federal district courts and various state courts, where they have won more than 90 percent of their cases—all of which were done pro bono. In fact, Shackelford and First Liberty won a landmark victory for religious liberty in the U.S. Supreme Court just six months ago.

“I’m honored and enthusiastic to have the support of Kelly in my race for Secretary of State. He has fought on behalf of citizens, churches, schools, the military, and many other organizations in protecting their Constitutional rights and freedoms. His work defending religious liberty across the country is simply unparalleled. He serves as an inspiration to me each and every day,” said Sykes. “While I consider Kelly a close friend and mentor, he chose to join our campaign because of what we represent and stand for—a return to the North Carolina values that our state was built on. The only way to reach our full potential when it comes to the economy, quality of life, and business environment is to restore these values to our government. This is how we’re going to create the brightest future possible for our children and for the state as a whole. I’m humbled by Kelly’s support and look forward to working with him to do more to protect religious liberty once in office.”

Shackelford is a constitutional scholar who has argued before the United States Supreme Court, testified before the U.S. House and Senate, and has won a number of landmark First Amendment and religious liberty cases including a recent historic, precedent-changing victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in The American Legion v. American Humanist Association. He was recently named one of the 25 greatest Texas lawyers of the past quarter-century by Texas Lawyer and is the recipient of the prestigious William Bentley Ball Award for Life and Religious Freedom Defense for pioneering work protecting religious freedom.

Shackelford joins many other prominent conservative leaders in endorsing the Sykes campaign, including Dr. James Dobson Family Institute founder Dr. James Dobson, civil rights leader Clarence Henderson and the Benham Brothers, who are Christian Businessmen and former reality TV host.

As the campaign continues to travel across the state to deliver its message of North Carolina values, E.C. Sykes has solidly positioned himself as the only true conservative in the race who can defeat Elaine Marshall in November. Following a successful fundraising effort that took place from the campaign’s launch to the reporting deadline in December, the Sykes campaign is continuing to see more grassroots support every day, strengthening the movement that E.C. has inspired.

*Organization name used for identification purposes only