Robertson Law Group Buys Building Next To Supreme Court

TV preacher Pat Robertson's legal arm, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is moving to Washington, D.C., into offices across the street from the Supreme Court.

According to a report in Legal Times, the ACLJ paid $5 million for a 6,000-square-feet building at 201 Maryland Avenue. The group is spending an additional $1 million to rehabilitate the building.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the ACLJ, said the purchase came courtesy of a generous donor. He would not name the donor but said it was not Robertson.

Robertson founded the group in 1990 to be a legal counterpoint to his arch-nemesis, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Even the ACLJ's name was designed to play off the ACLU's famous acronym. Sekulow had hoped that the move near the Supreme Court would tweak the ACLU in other ways, since that group for many years also had offices across the street from the Supreme Court.

Sekulow was apparently not aware that the ACLU recently moved its office to another neighborhood in Washington.

In other news about Robertson and the Religious Right:

The Christian Coalition has joined forces with an anti-abortion telephone company to raise funds. Under the arrangement, the Coalition is urging members to switch local or long-distance phone service to Pro Life Commun­i­cations, a St. Charles, Mo.-based company. The firm in turn gives the Coalition a cut of the profits.

Robertson severed his ties to the Coalition in 2000, and the group, once a powerhouse in conservative politics, has fallen on hard times. Its budget has dropped to $3 million, and membership has plummeted.

"I think it would be safe to say there has been a decline in contributions, and I think it's due to the economy and due to Sept. 11," Roberta Combs, Coalition president, told the Associated Press. "I think everybody was affected by it. But we're very hopeful it will turn back around."

Former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed is hard at work trying to lure Jews into the Republican Party. Recently, Reed agreed to co-chair a project called Stand for Israel with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who has worked with Religious Right groups for years under the auspices of his International Fellow­ship of Christians and Jews.

On April 2, the group held a daylong conference in Washington that featured a keynote address by Attorney General John Ashcroft. Other speakers included U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Conven­tion's Christian Life Commission.

An anonymous conference official told The Washington Times that the conference and other efforts by Stand for Israel could increase Jewish ranks in the GOP.

"Especially younger Jewish voters who are more conservative in their views and are disillusioned with the liberal agenda," the official said.