James Patrick KELLY, III
Jim Kelly is the Founder and President of Solidarity Center for Law and Justice, P.C., an Atlanta, Georgia-based public interest human rights law firm that promotes the right to education and freedom of religion and expression. He authored and filed amicus curiae briefs in the Supreme Court of United States in the cases of Good News Club v. Milford Central School (2001), Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), Locke v. Davey (2004), Graham v. Florida (2010), and Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (2019) pertaining to educational freedom, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and international law issues.
Since 2005, Kelly has served on an of counsel basis as the Director of International Affairs for the Washington D.C.-based Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. He is responsible for European judicial and civil society outreach strategy and engagement and for monitoring developments in the areas of human rights, rule of law, democracy, anti-corruption, and national sovereignty.
From 2005-2008, Kelly served as the Federalist Society’s representative on the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (“UNESCO”) and as Chairman of the National Commission’s Social and Human Sciences Committee. From 2001-2008, he served as a private legal advisor to the U.S. Department of State and as an official U.S. delegate at five international human rights conferences, on the topics of education for democratic citizenship, migration, and bioethics.
He is the co-founder and Director of the Federalist Society’s European Judicial Network, which consists of daily news briefings, regular dialogue, annual meetings, in-country visits, and other programming involving 22 judges from national Constitutional Courts in eleven Central and Eastern European countries and twelve current and former judges from the European Court of Human Rights.
Kelly is the founder of, and advisor to, Global Governance Watch, a web-based project that monitors global governance trends, European institutions and national sovereignty, and business and human rights. From 2005-2011, he authored five articles published in the Federalist Society’s Engage law on the subjects of human rights education, human security, democratic evolution, human rights networks, the global governance of economic and social rights, and business and human rights.
Kelly is a regular speaker and instructor at conferences in Central and Eastern Europe on freedom of religion and association, constitutional democracy, democratic evolution, international human rights, and the rule of law.
In 2005, he published Christianity, Democracy and the American Ideal, a compilation of the writings of the French-Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain.
In 2019, Kelly was appointed by the U.S. Department of State to serve as a Substitute Member of the European Commission on Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”).
Kelly is the founder and volunteer General Counsel of Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program, Inc., the state of Georgia’s largest ($35 million raised in 2019) K-12 tuition tax credit student scholarship organization awarding scholarships to thousands of children from low and middle-income families to attend the K-12 private schools of their parents’ choice.
He is the founder and part-time General Counsel of Georgia HEART Hospital Program, LLC, a program that assists 58 rural hospitals in the state of Georgia market and administer a nationally-recognized rural hospital organization tax credit program ($58 million raised in 2018) designed to improve access to health care in underserved communities throughout Georgia.
From 1985 to 1995, Kelly engaged in an Atlanta, Georgia-based corporate, tax, mergers and acquisitions, and estate planning law practice, representing businesses and non-profits in a variety of corporate matters, including formation, governance, contract negotiation, disposition, and succession planning.
He has served as an appointed member of the Georgia (USA) Board of Juvenile Justice (2006-2012) and the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission (2005-2010), which is responsible for vetting state trial and appellate court judicial candidates.
Kelly has earned a Master of Arts degree in International Relations with a Concentration in Justice and Homeland Security from Salve Regina University (2008); a Master of Nonprofit Management degree from Regis University (2002); a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Georgia School of Law (1985); a Master of Taxation degree from Georgia State University (1980); and a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from the University of Georgia (1978).
Kelly resides in Alpharetta, Georgia, with his wife, Lisa. They have two married children.