RENO, Nev., Aug. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, First Liberty Institute presented its former volunteer attorney and now United States Senator, Ted Cruz with the 2017 Philip B. Onderdonk, Jr. Religious Liberty Award for his efforts on behalf of veterans, the protection of veterans memorials, and his commitment to the cause of religious freedom. President and CEO Kelly Shackelford presented the annual award—the most prestigious award presented by First Liberty—to Senator Cruz at the 99th Annual Convention of The American Legion in Reno, Nevada.
Watch a short video about Senator Cruz and the 2017 Philip B. Onderdonk, Jr. Religious Liberty Award by clicking here.
"Senator Cruz's career has been defined by the defense of liberty, and especially religious liberty," said Mr. Shackelford. "There may be no other attorney in America who has done more for veterans, and the issues of religious liberty they face, than Senator Ted Cruz."
When Senator Cruz was in private practice, prior to his career in politics, he volunteered to represent The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and other veterans organizations in an amicus brief before the Supreme Court of the United States in Salazar v. Buono, a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the cross-shaped Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial. After the Supreme Court ruled that the World War I veterans memorial could remain, Cruz and First Liberty represented the VFW in follow-up litigation to secure the transfer of ownership of the memorial, and the land on which it sits, to the VFW. Thanks in large measure to Senator Cruz, The American Legion and the VFW prevailed and the cross, erected by veterans of World War I in 1934, was preserved.
Cruz would later represent The American Legion again in an amicus brief arguing against a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs order at the Houston National Cemetery preventing a pastor from praying "in Jesus name."
About the Award
First Liberty Institute presents the Philip B. Onderdonk, Jr. Religious Liberty Award each year to a hero of religious liberty at the National Convention of The American Legion. The award is named for Philip B. Onderdonk, Jr., the long time National Judge Advocate of The American Legion, a position to which he was appointed in 1983. Those who receive the Philip B. Onderdonk, Jr. Religious Liberty Award demonstrate the same dedication to duty in the service of freedom as the man for which it is named.
For more on the award, visit FirstLiberty.org/Award.
About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.
SOURCE First Liberty Institute