Mathew Staver

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Mathew D. Staver
NationalityUnited States of America
EducationB.A. in Theology from Southern Missionary College
[1] M.A. in Religion from Andrews University
J.D. from the University of Kentucky
OccupationConstitutional Lawyer
EmployerLiberty Counsel
Known forFormer Dean of Liberty University School of Law
Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel
TitleDirector of the Liberty Center for Law and Policy, Founder & Chairman of Liberty Counsel, Chairman of Liberty Counsel Action.
TermDean of Liberty University School of Law, 2006 – 2014;
President of Liberty Counsel, 1989-2006
PredecessorDean of Liberty University School of Law, Bruce Green
Spouse(s)Anita Staver

Mathew D. "Mat" Staver, J.D., is an American lawyer and former Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) pastor who became a Southern Baptist.[2] He is the founding member and Chairman of the Liberty Counsel law firm since 1989.

Personal life and career[edit]

Staver received his B.A. in theology from Southern Missionary College, his M.A. in Religion from Andrews University, and his J.D. from the University of Kentucky. During college he began a process which led him to later leave the SDA church and eventually attended a Southern Baptist church.[2]

As a Young Earth creationist who believes that intelligent design should be taught in public schools, Staver also denies Darwinian evolution.[3]

He has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States twice and has argued, generally unsuccessfully, before most of the federal courts of appeals.[4]

Staver served as Liberty University's law school dean from 2006 to 2014.

In 2011 he was added to the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations, which was started by Senator Grassley.[5]

Staver has been a frequent guest speaker at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.[6]

As of October 2015, Staver stated that 100,000 people gathered in Peru to support his client, Kim Davis, in support of her refusal to issue marriage licenses. The event in question has since been proven to have happened over a year ago and was unrelated to Davis.[7] Liberty Counsel issued a press release afterwards stating that Staver relied on a member of the Peruvian Congress for the information on the rally.[8]

Legal cases[edit]

In 1994 Staver argued the Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc. at the United States Supreme Court, representing individuals who fought a court order banning protesters from interfering with those entering or exiting the clinic within a 36-foot buffer zone. The Court ultimately ruled 6-3 striking down the 300-foot zone around people going in and out of the clinic and striking down the prohibition against images "observable" from inside the clinic.[9] The court upheld the 36-foot buffer zone.[10] An audio recording of the case was made by the Supreme Court.[11]

In 2012 Staver unsuccessfully argued a case[12] at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia on behalf of Liberty University against the Affordable Care Act. On July 12, 2013, the Fourth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act over Liberty's arguments against the "employer mandate."[13]

Staver also unsuccessfully represented former Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who has fought issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples based on her religious objection.[14]


  1. ^ Biography: Point of View On-Air Line Up for Wednesday, May 11, 2011
  2. ^ a b God on Trial: Dispatches from America's Religious Battlefields, by Peter H. Irons
  3. ^ Darwin Was Right! Or Was He? Orlando Weekly, September 1, 2005
  4. ^ Biography-Staver, Mathew D. Liberty University School of Law
  5. ^ Dean Staver Appointed to Panel Regarding Religious and Nonprofit Groups
  6. ^ Values Voter Summit
  7. ^ "Law firm labeled hate group leading Kim Davis' crusade". Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  8. ^ "Peruvian Prayer Meeting for Kim Davis Correction". Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  9. ^ 1994 article (PDF)
  10. ^ Madsen v. Women's Health Center - Cornell University
  11. ^ Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc. - Oral Argument, U.S. Supreme Court Media
  12. ^ Appeals Court Hears Challenges
  13. ^ Liberty University v. Lew (PDF)
  14. ^ Kentucky Clerk's Request For A Stay Is Denied By US Supreme Court NPR

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Bruce Green
Dean of Liberty University School of Law
2006 – 2014
Succeeded by
Business positions
Preceded by
New position
Chairman of Liberty Counsel
Succeeded by