Hannah Smith

Senior Counsel

Hannah Smith


J.D., J. Reuben Clark Law School, Honors
B.A., Princeton University, Honors

U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Samuel Alito
U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas


Senior Counsel Hannah Smith joined The Becket Fund in 2007 following two clerkships at the U.S. Supreme Court for Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito, Jr.

Hannah was a member of the Becket Fund legal team that secured victories in key U.S. Supreme Court religious liberty cases, including Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014), where the Court held in a 5-4 opinion authored by Justice Alito that family-owned businesses enjoy religious liberty rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and that the HHS mandate violated the Act; and Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC (2012), where a unanimous Court held in an opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts that the “ministerial exception” under the First Amendment protects a church’s right to choose its own ministers.

Hannah also contributed to the Becket Fund’s Supreme Court filings in Elmbrook School District v. Doe (2014), Big Sky Colony v. Montana Department of Labor and Industry (2013), Sossamon v. Texas (2011), Arizona Christian School Tuition Association v. Winn (2011), Bronx Household of Faith v. New York City Board of Education (2011), Utah Highway Patrol Association v. American Atheists (2011), Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2010), and Salazar v. Buono (2010).

In her advocacy of religious liberty cases at the trial, appellate, and U.S. Supreme Court levels, Hannah has been featured on CNN, Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, The Sean Hannity Show, C-Span, EWTN, Al Jazeera America, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, U.S. News and World Report, the Associated Press, National Review Online, the Laura Ingraham Show, the Rush Limbaugh Show, NPR, BBC, and many other publications and radio shows. She has delivered lectures at Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, Southern Methodist University Law School, and Brigham Young University Law School. And she has given briefings on religious liberty issues at the U.S. Capitol, the State Department, the Heritage Foundation, and the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Hannah received her B.A. from Princeton University, concentrating in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She graduated from Brigham Young University Law School and was elected to the Order of the Coif. She served as Executive Editor of the BYU Law Review, as a research assistant for the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies, and as president of the BYU Federalist Society. BYU awarded her its Alumni Achievement Award in 2013.

Following law school and in between clerkships, she was an associate in private practice at national law firms in Washington D.C., representing clients before state and federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court in civil, criminal, and constitutional cases. Her private practice religious liberty work included the U.S. Supreme Court petition for certiorari in Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City (2003), as well as matters on behalf of Brigham Young University, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington D.C.

Hannah served as a full-time volunteer missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France and Switzerland. She currently serves as a member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society International Board and as a member of the Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board. She writes a regular column on religious liberty issues in the Deseret News. Hannah and her husband have 4 children.

Foreign Language: French.

Bar Memberships: District of Columbia, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Fifth Circuits, U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and New Jersey.

In the News

Major TV Appearances

C-SPAN Washington Journal, July 2014

FOX & Friends, July 2014 Hannah on FOX & Friends

CNN @ This Hour, June 2014 Hannah on CNN @ This Hour

FOX Hannity, June 2014 Hannah on CNN @ This Hour

CNN Legal View, June 2014 Hannah on CNN @ This Hour

Al Jazeera America, June 2014 Hannah on CNN @ This Hour

FOX America’s Newsroom, June 2014 Hannah on CNN @ This Hour

EWTN News Nightly, June 2014 Hannah on CNN @ This Hour

Preserving Religious Freedom, September 11, 2013

Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, March 13, 2012

Fox News, America’s News HQ, February 12, 2012

Fox News, Hannity, February 10, 2012

Fox News, America’s Newsroom, February 2, 2012

C-SPAN, at the Ethic and Public Policy Center’s American Religious Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C., “Unprecedented Threats to American Religious Freedom”, May 24, 2012


Major Radio Interviews 

The Rush Limbaugh Show, May 22, 2012

The Dennis Miller Show, February 15, 2012

The Lou Dobbs Show, February 15, 2012

The Laura Ingraham Show, January 23, 2012

National Public Radio, January 8, 2012


Major Newspaper Interviews

Activists gather to plot defense of ‘religious liberty’, Washington Post, May 24, 2012

Birth control rule won’t apply to all student plans at colleges, White House says, Washington Post, March 16, 2012

New front in birth control rule battle: the courts, Washington Post, March 7, 2012

Different states’ contraceptive rules leave employers room to maneuver, Washington Post, February 19, 2012

Furor on dictate over contraception coverage intensifying, Washington Times, February 13, 2012

Contraceptive mandate could face tough sledding in Supreme Court, Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2012

Contraception mandate outrages conservative religious groups, Associated Press, February 2, 2012

Religious groups committed to contraception suits, Reuters, February 10, 2012

Obama’s baffling Catholic decision: birth control trumps religious freedom, The Daily Beast, February 7, 2012

Obama obfuscates on church regulation, The Daily Caller, March 19, 2012

The cult of anti-Mormonism, Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2011

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