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School of Law grads witness Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling

Liberty School of Law alumni now serving Alabama Supreme Court Justice.
Liberty University School of Law graduates (from left) Matthew Clark ('12), Benjamin Boyd ('10), and Dr. Martin Wishnatsky ('12) currently serve as law clerks in Alabama.

Three graduates of Liberty University School of Law have the privilege of serving as law clerks for Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who issued a landmark ruling on April 18 that the word "child" in Alabama’s chemical-endangerment statute applies both to the born and unborn.

Matthew Clark and Dr. Martin Wishnatsky, both 2012 graduates of Liberty Law, and Benjamin Boyd ('10) are clerks for Chief Justice Moore, who issued an opinion in Ex Parte Sarah Janie Hicks, an appeal against the State of Alabama by a woman who was convicted of chemical endangerment of a child. Hicks ingested cocaine while pregnant with her son, J.D., which resulted in his positive test for the drug at birth. She argued that the word "child" in the chemical-endangerment statute did not apply to an unborn child. The trial court rejected the argument by an 8-1 vote and the Criminal Court of Appeals affirmed the decision, relying on a similar ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court last year.

Clark, Wishnatsky, and Boyd became the first Liberty alumni to land full-time positions in a state supreme court in 2012 after completing internships with Liberty Counsel.

"These grads love the law school and are making a huge impact," said Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University School of Law. "As the law school ages, we will see more of this as our graduates move up in the ranks."

This is also the first case in which the Liberty University Law Review, published three times a year by Liberty Law students, has been cited in any court opinion. Alabama Justice Tom Parker referred to Wishnatsky's article, "The Supreme Court's Use of the Term 'Potential Life': Verbal Engineering and the Abortion Holocaust," written when he was still in law school and published in the winter of 2012 after he had completed his internship with Liberty Counsel.

"From 'potential life,' the Court has progressed to 'unborn life,' which is a significant step," Justice Parker cited from the article. "Once the 'potential life' misnomer is discarded, the Court's abortion jurisprudence may go with it."

Staver said this case, referring to rights afforded all Americans in the Declaration of Independence and in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which abolished slavery, poses a valid argument for overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

"The opinions by Chief Justice Roy Moore and Tom Parker … completely demolish the fallacies of the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion decisions," Staver said. "One day soon the United States Supreme Court's abortion opinions will come toppling down like a house of cards. Then we will look back at history like we now do with Nazi Germany and wonder why our generation was so blind to the personhood of the preborn child."