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Center for Renewal Studies



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The Honorable Marla Graff Decker
Court of Appeals of Virginia

Judge Marla Graff Decker is a graduate of Gettysburg College where she earned her B.S. in Political Science.  She received her J. D. from the University of Richmond Law School.  Judge Decker began her career in 1983 as Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Litigation Section, where she tried cases in state and federal court and defended convictions on appeal.  After almost 20 years in the Criminal Litigation Section, Decker was promoted to Section Chief of the Special Prosecutions Section, which consisted of the Medicaid Fraud Control, Organized Crime, Environmental and Health Professions Units.  Later, she was appointed Deputy Attorney General of the Public Safety and Enforcement Division and managed the Criminal Litigation, Correctional Litigation, Special Prosecutions and Medicaid Fraud Control Sections. 

In January of 2010, Decker was appointed by the Governor to serve as Secretary of Public Safety.  In that role, she was responsible for the eleven state agencies that comprised the Public Safety Secretariat, including the Departments of State Police, Corrections, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice Services, Forensic Science, and the Virginia National Guard.  She also advised the Governor on all public safety matters and spearheaded his administration’s criminal justice legislative agenda.   On November 1, 2013, Judge Decker was appointed to the Court of Appeals of Virginia.   In January of 2014, Decker was elected by the Virginia General Assembly to an eight year term as a Judge on the Court of Appeals. 


Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson has always had a fierce determination to help women in need. It was this desire that both led Abby to a career with Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider, and caused her to flee the organization and become an outspoken advocate for the pro-life movement. During her eight years with Planned Parenthood, Abby quickly rose in the organization’s ranks and became a clinic director. She was increasingly disturbed by what she witnessed. Abortion was a product Planned Parenthood was selling, not an unfortunate necessity that they fought to decrease. Still, Abby loved the women that entered her clinic and her fellow workers. Despite a growing unrest within her, she stayed on and strove to serve women in crisis. All of that changed on September 26, 2009 when Abby was asked to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. Read more >


Azizah Y. al-Hibri
Professor Emerita of Law, University of Richmond School of Law
Founder and Chair, KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights

Isaac KfirProfessor Azizah al-Hibri is a Professor Emerita at the Law School, having served on the faculty from 1992 until her retirement in 2012. Her work has centered on developing an Islamic jurisprudence and body of Islamic law that are gender equitable and promote human rights and democratic governance. Professor al-Hibri has authored numerous book chapters, essays, and law review articles on these subjects, and her work has appeared in the highly respected Journal of Law and Religion, Harvard International Review, and University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, among other venues. In 2011, Professor al-Hibri was appointed by President Obama to serve as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. She received the Virginia First Freedom Award from the Council for America's First Freedom in 2007, the Dr. Betty Shabazz Recognition Award from Women in Islam in 2006, and the University of Richmond's Distinguished Educator Award in 2004, and was named a Fulbright scholar in 2001. Professor al-Hibri is the founding editor of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and founder and president of the organization KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights.


Tiffany Barrans
Former International Legal Director
American Center for Law and Justice

Isaac KfirTiffany Barrans is the former International Legal Director at the ACLJ, and also served as a Senior Litigation Counsel in domestic litigation matters. As Senior Litigation Counsel for the ACLJ, Ms. Barrans participated in several First Amendment cases at all levels in the U.S. federal courts. In her capacity as International Legal Director, Ms. Barrans assisted in cases throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and worked as a liaison between the ACLJ and its international affiliate offices.

She has also represented matters of international concern before the United Nations, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Parliament, and various national parliaments around the world. Ms. Barrans graduated top of her class at Regent University School of Law, where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Regent University Law Review. Ms. Barrans earned her BA from the University of Puget Sound. Before joining the ACLJ, she clerked for the Honorable William H. Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Ms. Barrans serves as a Senior Research Associate for the Oxford Centre for Law and Public Policy, and frequently contributes to the global discussion of religious freedom through writing and public speaking.


Stephen Casey
President and Senior Counsel at Casey Law Office, P.C.
Co-founder of Texas Center for Defense of Life

Isaac KfirStephen Casey is President and Senior Counsel at Casey Law Office, P.C. Mr. Casey also serves as the Chief Counsel of Texas Center for Defense of Life, and has served as lead counsel in all recent forced abortion cases in Texas.

Before attending law school, Mr. Casey supervised the operation of nuclear reactors in the U.S. Navy for eight years, holding several leadership and supervisory positions. In 1999, Mr. Casey left the Navy to attend LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, where he studied political science, history, and Biblical studies.

Mr. Casey continued his education at Regent University where he earned a Master of Arts in divinity and his law degree. While in law school, Mr. Casey served as a Law Review editor, was active with the Federalist Society, and participated in moot courts. After school he clerked with several firms, and was selected to clerk with the Texas Supreme Court before entering private practice. He also ran for Texas State Representative in 2009 and is active in the local Republican Party. Mr. Casey lives in Round Rock with his wife and five children, where they are active in the community.

Vivian Hamilton
Professor of Law
William and Mary Law School

Isaac KfirProfessor Hamilton received a B.A. from Yale College and is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. At Harvard, she was Articles Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and served as a student attorney for the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. She was awarded the National Association of Women Lawyers' Outstanding Woman Graduate Award at commencement.

After earning her law degree, Professor Hamilton clerked for Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She later practiced law at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, DC, then at the Legal Aid Society of Washington, DC.

Professor Hamilton taught previously at American University's Washington College of Law and at the West Virginia University College of Law.


Isaac Kfir,
Visiting Professor of International Affairs & Law
Syracuse University College of Law

Isaac KfirIsaac Kfir is a Visiting Assistant Professor of International Relations and Law at Syracuse University, where he currently teaches Post-Conflict Reconstruction and the Rule of Law, International Security, Terrorism in the Twenty First Century, EU Law and Policy, and Humanitarian Action, among other classes.

Kfir also is a Research Associate at INSCT and Assistant Director of the Global Black Spots project in the Moynihan Institute of SU Maxwell School. Between 2005 and 2009, Kfir was an Assistant Professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel. Before working at the IDC and ICT, he served as a Research Fellow in International Relations at the University of Buckingham. He received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics (1999) in International Relations, and he has a Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) and the Bar Vocational Certificate (BVC) from BPP Law School (2001). He was a member of Inner Temple.

Kfir has been published in the National Security and Armed Conflict Law Review, Texas Journal of Women & Gender, Defense Studies, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, and other leading journals. He is currently working on two book manuscripts: Post-Conflict Reconstruction in the Twenty-First Century (proposal submitted to Cambridge University Press Security Series) and Terrorism and Counter-terrorism: A Critical Approach to the Way States Respond to Terrorist Threats (book proposal submitted to Stanford University Press Security Series). He has a manuscript under review—Democracy and Pakistan: Past, Present and Future—with Duke University Press.



Teresa Stanton Collett
University of St. Thomas School of Law

Isaac KfirA passionate advocate for the protection of human life and the family, Professor Teresa Stanton Collett is a nationally sought-after scholar and speaker on the topics of marriage, religion and bioethics. She has published numerous legal articles and is the co-author of a law casebook on professional responsibility and co-editor of a collection of essays exploring "catholic" and "Catholic" perspectives on American law .

Professor Collett is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and has testified before committees of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, as well as before legislative committees in several states.  In 2009, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI appointed Collett to a five year term on the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Recently she represented Congressman Ron Paul and various medical groups in the defense of the federal ban of partial-birth abortion, and the Governors of Minnesota and North Dakota defending the N.H. requirement of state parental involvement prior to performance of an abortion on a minor before the United States Supreme Court. She is often asked to represent the interests of government officials before federal appellate courts. She has served as special Attorney General for the States of Oklahoma and Kansas , as well as assisting other state Attorneys General in defending laws protecting human life and marriage. Prior to joining St. Thomas in 2003, Professor Collett taught at the South Texas College of Law where she established the nation's first annual symposium on legal ethics.


Christine Venter
Director, Legal Writing Program
Notre Dame Law School

Isaac KfirChristine Venter is the Director of the Legal Writing Program. She earned her B.A. degree from the University of Cape Town and her law degree from the University of Cape Town School of Law, where she was Editor in Chief of the Law Review. She also holds an LL.M in International Law and Human Rights (summa cum laude) from Notre Dame Law School and a J.S.D., also from NDLS. 

After graduation Professor Venter worked as an associate for a South African firm specializing in civil rights litigation. After relocating to the US she worked for a firm specializing in international business law, and later did legal aid work in the US. 

She is a member of the Legal Writing Institute, the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and is an Editor of The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.