Conservative Christian attorneys gain influence under Trump

Conservative Christian attorneys gain influence under Trump
In this Feb. 26, 2018, photo, David J. Hacker, special counsel for litigation for the Texas attorney general's office, right, and Brantley Starr, deputy first attorney general, left, take part in a committee meeting on religious freedom laws at the Texas Capitol, in Austin, Texas. Lawyers who espouse a conservative Christian agenda have been growing in influence since the Trump administration took office. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lawyers who espouse a conservative Christian agenda have been growing in influence since the Trump administration took office.

Attorneys for the First Liberty law firm near Dallas have been especially successful in winning government jobs. They have moved into powerful taxpayer-funded positions at the Texas attorney general’s office and advised President Donald Trump, who nominated two of the lawyers to become federal judges.

Another attorney went to the Department of Health and Human Services.

It’s a remarkable rise for a modest-sized law firm near Dallas, and it mirrors the climb of similar firms that have quietly shifted from trying to influence government to becoming part of it.

The ascent of the firms has helped propel a wave of anti-LGBT legislation and so-called religious-freedom laws in statehouses nationwide.