William Wagner

Prof. William Wagner

President, Salt & Light Global and Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Professor William Wagner is President and Chairman of Salt & Light Global. He holds the academic rank of Distinguished Professor Emeritus after an academic career teaching at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. A frequent speaker at world conferences, Professor Wagner has a special interest in the protection of free expression, the free exercise of religious conscience, and good governance under the rule of law.

Professor Wagner’s writing is published in a number of articles, books, and other publications, including an Amazon national best seller (#1in its category). As lead amicus counsel in a variety of matters before the United States Supreme Court, he authored briefs on behalf of various Christian organizations. He also authored written testimony, evidence, and briefs in such forums as the Swedish Supreme Court, the U.S. Congress, and the U.K. Parliament. He has further addressed many executive, legislative, parliamentary, and judicial audiences throughout the world, and presented at various diplomatic forums including the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Professor Wagner previously served as United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Florida. Prior to his appointment on the federal bench, he served as a legal advisor and the chief American diplomat for the Department of Justice at an American Embassy in Africa. There he led a diplomatic mission charged with strengthening good governance and the rule of law. During his career in public service, he provided international assistance to the justice sector institutions of numerous countries on five continents.

Professor Wagner also served as a senior United States prosecutor, litigating hundreds of federal cases and serving as chief of appellate litigation for the Office of the United States Attorney. Prior to serving in the Justice Department, Professor Wagner served as legal counsel in the United States Senate and as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Michigan legislature. As chief counsel, he supervised all legislative issues involving the separation of powers, due process, and other protections of individual rights and liberties, including the right to free expression and the free exercise of religious conscience.

Professor Wagner received the post-doctoral Danforth Fellowship in Law after earning his J.D. in 1986. He has served on the executive governing boards of a number of international and national ministries.

  • B.A. Western Michigan University 1982
  • J.D. Saint Louis University 1986
  • Danforth Fellow (Law, post-doctoral)
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