Launched in 2006, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center (AHLC) is the legal arm of the American Humanist Association. The AHLC’s team of attorneys, through trial and appellate litigation, amicus activity, and other legal work, provide the zealous advocacy that humanists and others need to defend constitutional rights and strengthen the wall of separation between church and state.
Our legal staff includes senior counsel Monica Miller, staff attorney Katie McKerall paralegal Stephanie Hansen, plus a network of volunteer attorneys from around the country, including humanist luminaries such as Jim McCollum, Wendy Kaminer, and Michael Newdow. Guidance and funding for the center come from Louis Appignani.
The Appignani Humanist Legal Center is constantly growing. Our legal team includes senior counsel Monica Miller, staff attorney Katie McKerall, paralegal Stephanie Hansen, as well as a network of dozens of volunteer attorneys from around the country. Guidance and funding for the center come from Louis Appignani.
Louis Appignani is a successful entrepreneur from Miami, a longtime Humanist and member of the AHA, and the founder of the Appignani Foundation. Through the foundation, Appignani and others encourage the spread of humanistic values through secular organizations and activities- thus contributing to the growth of the Humanist movement. He earned a BBA in accounting from CUNY-Baruch and an MS in finance from Columbia University. He attended postgraduate studies in economics at Indiana University.
Monica L. Miller is Legal Director and Senior Counsel at the American Humanist Association (AHA). Since joining the AHA in 2012, Miller has vigorously defended the constitutional mandate of separation of church and state by litigating Establishment Clause cases across the country. She has served as lead counsel in over 25 federal cases, including before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits. Miller has presented oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as the Courts of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (twice), Fifth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, and Eleventh Circuit. She has filed a number of briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and served as counsel of record in our Supreme Court case challenging the Bladensburg Cross. Miller has appeared live on Fox News and MSNBC, as well as local television stations and radio shows, and is regularly quoted by national and local media outlets throughout the country, including Fox News, NPR, ABC, NBC, Aljazeera, USA Today, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the National Law Journal, among many others.
Miller graduated from Pitzer College in 2008 and from Columbia University in 2009 with a Masters in Public Administration for Environmental Science and Policy. She graduated cum laude from Vermont Law School in 2012. Miller was a Dean’s Fellow at Vermont Law School where she taught first-year legal writing. She also created the Vermont Law School “Secular Law Students Association,” and was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Animal Law Moot Court Competition.
In pursuit of her concern for fundamental rights, Miller is also an attorney for the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), working to obtain common law personhood rights for nonhuman animals. Miller’s work at the NhRP has captured the interest of the world’s leading legal scholars, scientists, and journalists. She is also featured in an HBO documentary, Unlocking the Cage.
A member of the California State Bar and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, Miller is also admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits, and the United States District Courts for Central California, Colorado, and the Northern District of Florida.
Katie McKerall is a Staff Attorney with the American Humanist Association. Prior to joining AHA she worked as the Staff Attorney for the Commissioner of Accounts in Fairfax, Virginia and as a grant writer for Rappahannock Goodwill Industries in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Originally from Gulf Shores, Alabama, Katie is passionate about protecting and fostering a free and open society through the First Amendment and worked in the Free Speech Clinic while attending law school at George Mason University. Katie also holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of South Alabama.