Kelly Shackelford, Esq.
Kelly Shackelford, Esq., has been president and CEO of Liberty Institute since 1997.
Mr. Shackelford is a constitutional scholar who has argued before the United States Supreme Court, testified before the U.S. House and Senate on constitutional issues, and has won three state landmark First Amendment and religious liberty cases in the past few years alone.
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 his leadership and pioneering work protecting religious freedom.
Mr. Shackelford is a highly sought after speaker and frequent guest on national TV news and talk show programs including The O’Reilly Factor, Fox and Friends, Hannity, Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show, CNN, and MSNBC. He also has been featured in the National Law Journal, Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, and The L.A. Times, among many others.
Mr. Shackelford is on the Board of Trustees of the United States Supreme Court Historical Society and is a graduate of Baylor University.
Jeff Mateer, Esq.
Jeff Mateer, Esq., is General Counsel for Liberty Institute. Mr. Mateer joined Liberty Institute in 2010, after 19 years in private litigation practice. He now oversees and directs Liberty Institute’s legal team. He specializes in religious liberty matters, including free exercise, free speech, RLUIPA and public acknowledgment of religion cases.
Mr. Mateer has represented clients ranging from large international organizations to local businesses, schools, ministries, churches and individuals in complex federal and state court actions involving religious liberty, civil rights, employment, intellectual property and business matters. In private practice, his clients included the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Citigroup, CNA, ConAgra Foods, former officers and directors of EDS, Ford Motor Company, Pilgrim’s Pride and PNC Bank. He has tried numerous jury and bench trials in both federal and state courts, and has successfully argued before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Texas appellate courts.
In addition to having received an A-V rating by Martindale-Hubbell, Mr. Mateer has been honored as a Texas Rising Star and Texas Super Lawyer. He received his undergraduate education at Dickinson College, where he graduated with honors in 1987, and his legal education at Southern Methodist University, where he graduated with honors in 1990. While in law school, he served as an editor of the law review. He is licensed to practice law by the state of Texas and is admitted to practice before all Texas State and Federal District Courts and the 2nd, 5th and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hiram Sasser, Esq.
Hiram Sasser, Esq., is the Managing Director of Strategic Litigation for Liberty Institute. Mr. Sasser’s practice focuses on First Amendment and other constitutional and civil rights issues.
Mr. Sasser successfully argued before federal and state appellate courts, federal and state district courts, and the Texas Supreme Court. His past and present clients include The American Legion, VFW, Association of Christian Schools International, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Dr. James Dobson, Jewish Educational Center, Southern Baptist Convention, National Association of Evangelicals, and various state and local government entities and officials. In addition to his legal duties, he develops, coordinates, and implements successful media strategies on behalf of his clients. This includes numerous appearances on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, CNN, and the BBC as well as being heard on various radio stations throughout the United States, Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Prior to joining Liberty, Mr. Sasser graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he received recognition as the “Outstanding Graduate.” He earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University. His military service includes serving as Headquarters Commander, a Company Executive Officer, and Training Officer in the United States Army Reserve.
Matthew Kacsmaryk, Esq.
Matthew Kacsmaryk is Deputy General Counsel and Managing Director of Direct Litigation, Research, and Education.
Mr. Kacsmaryk served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas from 2008 through 2013. Assigned to the Appellate Division, he represented the United States government in over 75 criminal appeals filed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, including several cases of first impression and numerous cases requiring oral argument. Mr. Kacsmaryk also served on two Criminal Division trial teams that prosecuted high profile, violent defendants and was responsible for all appellate litigation arising under the First Amendment, Sixth Amendment, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. While at the United States Attorney’s Office, he served as a CLE instructor, an appellate liaison to the Criminal Division, and an Adjunct Lecturer on Free Speech and the First Amendment at Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts. In October 2013, he was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security.
Prior to his work as a prosecutor, Mr. Kacsmaryk was an associate at the Dallas office of Baker Botts L.L.P., where he focused on commercial, constitutional, and intellectual property litigation, representing national, regional, and local clients. In 2005, he received the firm’s Opus Justitiae Award for Outstanding Commitment to Pro Bono Work.
Mr. Kacsmaryk received his J.D. from the University of Texas, graduating with Honors. While at the University of Texas, he was awarded the Dean’s Achievement Award in Constitutional Law II and Telecommunications Law, served as an Executive Editor of the Texas Review of Law & Politics, and was a member of The Federalist Society, Christian Legal Society, and Bible Study Fellowship. Mr. Kacsmaryk received his B.A. summa cum laude from Abilene Christian University, where he was a Trustee Scholar and a member of the Jack Pope Fellows Program.
Michael Berry, Esq.
Michael Berry, Esq., is Senior Counsel and Director of Military Affairs for Liberty Institute. He joined Liberty Institute in 2013 after serving for seven years as an attorney with the U.S. Marine Corps. From 2009 until 2013, Mr. Berry served as an Appellate Defense Attorney in which he argued numerous cases before various federal appeals courts and traveled across the country to teach appellate advocacy to junior attorneys. He was also invited to serve as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the United States Naval Academy.
In 2008, Mr. Berry was selected for a high-profile combat deployment to Afghanistan, where he served as a subject-matter expert on complex legal matters of multi-national significance.
Berry earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in 1999. He attended law school at The Ohio State University, graduating in 2005. During law school, he served as president of the Ohio State student chapter of the Christian Legal Society. He is also a Blackstone Fellow, Class of 2003.
Berry is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan, the State of Texas, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.
Roger Byron, Esq.
Roger Byron, Esq., is Senior Counsel for Liberty Institute. His practice covers religious liberty matters and other First Amendment concerns.
In private practice Mr. Byron has provided counsel and representation to small businesses, individuals, organizations and financial institutions on a broad range of matters. In the Constitutional arena his experience covers the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equal access, religious land use and church autonomy, among other matters. His First Amendment clients have included organizations, individuals, churches, students and government officials and entities.
Before practicing law, Mr. Byron graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served a six-year commission as a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy. After leaving active duty Mr. Byron graduated magna cum laude from Regent University School of Law where he served as articles editor of the law review. He is licensed to practice law by the State of Texas and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Justin Butterfield, Esq.
Justin Butterfield, Esq., is Senior Counsel and Director of Research and Education for Liberty Institute. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 2007. During his time at Harvard, Mr. Butterfield served as the student coordinator for the Veritas Forum, was a member of the Federalist Society, and was heavily involved with the Harvard Law School Christian Fellowship. He is also a Blackstone Fellow. A native Texan, Mr. Butterfield completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at El Paso where he graduated summa cum laude, with honors, and University Banner Bearer with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
In addition to his practice in the area of religious liberty, Mr. Butterfield co-authored two scholarly articles: “The Light of Accountability: Why Partisan Elections Are the Best Method of Judicial Selection,” published in The Advocate, and “The Parsonage Exemption Deserves Broad Protection,” published in the Texas Review of Law & Politics.
Jeremiah G. Dys, Esq.
Jeremiah G. Dys, Esq., is Senior Counsel for Liberty Institute. He joined Liberty Institute in 2013 after six years of serving as president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.
Mr. Dys graduated from Taylor University with a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, degree in Communication Studies while concentrating his minor study in U.S. History and Philosophy. During his undergraduate career, Dys also studied at the American Studies Program in Washington, D.C. where he interned with the late David Orgon Coolidge as part of the Marriage Law Project of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
At West Virginia University College of Law, Mr. Dys earned his Doctor in Jurisprudence in 2005. At WVU College of Law, He was president of the College of Law’s chapter of the Christian Legal Society, a member of the Moot Court Board, and co-leader of the Business Law Clinic for WVU College of Law's Clinical Law Program. He has been admitted to the Bars of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. After law school, Mr. Dys clerked for the Hon. Russell M. Clawges, Jr., chief judge of the Circuit Court of Monongalia County in Morgantown, West Virginia.
For the past six years, Mr. Dys has been providing leadership in advocacy on the issues of life, marriage, and religious freedom for a public policy organization associated with Focus on the Family. In that role, he has provided regular comment/commentary in local, state, and national media outlets, spoken across the State of West Virginia in a variety of venues, and developed relationships with politicians and ministry partners in furtherance of the organization’s passion to advance, defend, and equip West Virginia's families through policy, politics, preparation.
Cleve Doty, Esq.
Cleve Doty, Esq., serves as counsel for Liberty Institute, focusing on litigation, research, and education.
Before joining Liberty Institute, Mr. Doty was an associate at the Austin office of Baker Botts L.L.P. where he focused on complex commercial and appellate litigation, representing national, regional, and local clients.
Before joining private practice, Mr. Doty was a Fellow at the Texas Solicitor General’s Office, where he successfully briefed and argued his first appeal. Mr. Doty has represented both private and public clients in appeals at all levels of state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
A native Texan, Mr. Doty served as briefing attorney for the Hon. Don R. Willett of the Texas Supreme Court. Mr. Doty graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was President of the Federalist Society and co-chair of the Hinton Moot Court Board. While at the University of Chicago, he received the Thomas R. Mulroy prize for excellence in appellate advocacy, the Ann Watson Barber Service Award, and the Llewellyn Cup as runner-up in the Hinton Moot Court competition. Mr. Doty completed his undergraduate studies at Yale University.