Michael Farris

Michael Farris
Michael P. Farris
Born Michael P. Farris
August 27, 1951 (1951-08-27) (age 60)
Spokane, Washington, United States
Residence Purcellville, Virginia, United States
Nationality United States of America
Other names Mikey
Occupation Professor, Constitutional Lawyer, Author
Known for Founder of Patrick Henry College, Founder of Home School Legal Defense Association
Title Chancellor of Patrick Henry College
Term March 2006 – present
Political party Republican
Religion Baptist
Spouse Vickie Farris

Michael "Mike" P. Farris (born August 27, 1951) is a United States constitutional lawyer. He is a founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Patrick Henry College.


Personal life and education

Farris graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science from Western Washington University (formerly Western Washington State College). He received a law degree and graduated with honors from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington.Farris received an LLM in public international law (with merit) from the University of London in 2011.

He married in 1971 and has ten children and ten grandchildren.[1] He and his wife Vickie began home schooling in 1982, leading him to establish the Home School Legal Defense Association in 1983.

He was also ordained as a Baptist minister in 1983.

Career and achievements

In 1983, Farris founded the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), where he currently serves as chairman and general counsel.[2] His efforts resulted in a number of court rulings and policy changes favoring home schooling.

He also founded Patrick Henry College, which opened its doors in 2000. According to HSLDA, the college was founded as

"...a Christian institution with the mission of training students through a classical liberal arts curriculum and apprenticeship methodology to impact the world 'for Christ and for Liberty.'"[3]

He held the positions of president and professor of Government from 2000 to 2006. Farris resigned his position as president of HSLDA to take on these new roles. In March 2006, Farris stepped down from the position of president to become chancellor of the college.[4]

He has been appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve on the Board of Visitors for Mount Vernon (the home of George Washington).

Farris is also the author of several books on homeschooling and family as well as the book From Tyndale to Madison, published in 2007. He has also written a few novels, including Guilt by Association (ISBN 978-0805401516), and Forbid them Not (ISBN 978-0805424331). All of Farris' novels deal with Christian themes.

Education Week named Farris one of the most significant 100 "Faces of the Century."

Legal and political career

As a lawyer, Farris's cases include over 40 reported decisions as lead counsel. These decisions were given by the United States Supreme Court, five U.S. circuit courts of Appeal, seven state Supreme Courts, and five state Courts of Appeal. Farris successfully argued for the petitioner in a religious freedom case, the Supreme Court case Witters v. Washington Department of Services For the Blind in 1985-1986.

In 1993, Farris ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor of Virginia and was defeated by Democrat Don Beyer — 54-46 percent. However, fellow Republicans George Allen, Jr., and James Gilmore were elected on the same ballot as governor and attorney general, respectively. Farris' close connection to conservative leaders like Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority, Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition, and Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, stirred deep-seated feelings about religion and politics. These concerns inflamed by negative ads by Beyer to portray him even more radically, likely caused alienation of enough moderate voters to lose him the election.[5] There was also soreness among Virginia Republicans for U.S. Senator John Warner's lack of support for Farris.

Farris was the founder and chairman of the Madison Project, a political action committee. He is also the founder of Generation Joshua, an organization for the mobilization of Christian youth to participate in politics and get out the vote. In 2007, he founded ParentalRights.org, a parental rights advocacy group.


  1. ^ "Bio for Mr Farris" (in American English). http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Michael_P._Farris. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  2. ^ http://www.hslda.org/about/staff/attorneys/Farris.asp HSLDA Biography of Michael Farris. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  3. ^ http://www.hslda.org/about/staff/attorneys/Farris.asp. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  4. ^ Farris Assumes New Responsibility - Patrick Henry College news 2/28/06
  5. ^ Don Beyer, Mike Farris, and the Wizard of Oz; how the election for Lt. Governor of Virginia became a testing ground for the Christian right - Campaigns & Elections Dec-Jan 1993

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
New Position
President of Patrick Henry College
Succeeded by
Graham Walker
Preceded by
New Position
Chancellor of Patrick Henry College
2006 – present
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Edwina P. Dalton
Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
John H. Hager

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