Eric Baxter joined Becket as Senior Counsel in 2011. Since then he has represented religious organizations and individuals in a wide array of religious liberty disputes at both the trial and appellate level. His case victories include a Ninth Circuit ruling upholding the “Big Mountain Jesus” statue that has stood on Forest Service land near Kalispell, Montana, for more than sixty years (FFRF v. Weber), and a rare Pentagon decision allowing a Sikh soldier to maintain his full beard and turban while serving in the Army (Singh v. Carter). Eric has extensive experience fighting efforts under state Blaine amendments to exclude religious organizations and individuals from participating on equal terms in the public square. He also regularly advises religious institutions of higher education in defending their religious missions against government encroachment.
Eric has frequently appeared in the national media to discuss religious liberty issues, including appearances on Fox News (Kelly File, Fox & Friends), WSJ Live, CBS New York, Christian Broadcasting Network, Newsmax TV, and Al Jazeera. He has also written op-eds and been quoted in many major newspapers and other print media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Fox News, New York Post, Washington Times, and New Boston Post.
Before joining Becket, Eric was a partner at Arent Fox LLP in Washington, DC, where he maintained a commercial complex litigation practice representing clients primarily in employment, intellectual property, and biotechnology disputes. He also served for many years as outside counsel to a DC church and its affiliated school. In 2007, he was awarded the Albert E. Arent Pro Bono Award for his work representing several parents adopting a total of seven children from foster care.
From 2000 to 2002, Eric clerked for the Honorable Robert H. Cleland in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit). Eric received a B.A. in Russian Literature and Linguistics from Brigham Young University and graduated magna cum laude from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU, where he served as Executive Editor of the Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. Eric speaks Russian and some Spanish. He and his wife have seven children and an amateur family bluegrass band.