Many blessings and congratulations to Robert L. Hutton, our Diocesan Attorney, who has been named to serve as Chairman-elect of the National Advisory Council (NAC) to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during its recent semi-annual meeting in Baltimore, Md. Under its by-laws, Hutton will begin service on the Executive Board immediately and automatically transition to serve as Chairman of the NAC on January 1, 2025.
The NAC was formed by the U.S. Bishops in 1966, about three years after the conclusion of Vatican II. The Council is currently composed of 40 members, mostly lay women and men selected by the Bishops from across the U.S. that also includes Bishops, Priests, Religious Women and Men, and Permanent Deacons. Its purpose is to advise the USCCB by providing feedback and giving advice on issues currently facing the Catholic Church in the United States. NAC members receive all materials in advance that are distributed to the Bishops for consideration at USCCB meetings. The NAC provides critical input on issues that the Bishops will be voting upon at their meetings and may also make specific proposals of items to address that are not currently on the agenda.
Last year, Hutton was appointed by the USCCB to serve on the NAC and represent Region 5 (Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi). As Chairman, Hutton will work closely with the USCCB’s Secretary General and Administrative Committee. He will be responsible for presiding over meetings of the NAC and promoting discussion on issues facing the Church. Following NAC meetings, as Chairman, he will also be responsible for submitting written reports to the Bishops on behalf of the NAC and making live presentations to the Bishops at USCCB meetings.
Hutton, a lawyer at Glankler Brown, PLLC, represents clients, including our Diocese, in litigation and providing legal advice. Throughout his career, he has strived to integrate his Catholic faith with his professional work. His work has included representing those on death row facing execution, advocating for victims of discrimination, and challenging inhumane conditions at various jails throughout West Tennessee. He has also fought for the rights of people to exercise their religious freedom. He is one of the few attorneys in Memphis to have argued a case before the United States Supreme Court. He received the Sandra Day O’Conner Award for Professional Service, an honor conferred nationally upon one lawyer each year during a ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Hutton also serves the Catholic Church in various other capacities. As a Knight of Malta, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Order of Malta-Federal Association and served two full terms as its Chancellor. He also served on an international committee working with members throughout the world to reform the Order of Malta’s Constitution, and he has served as regional hospitaller for its Memphis region, working with the sick and the poor in the Memphis community. Hutton served as secretary of our Diocesan Review Board. He was instrumental in founding The Catholic Café, a radio show and podcast, broadcast throughout the world for the past 15 years. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of West Tennessee and a past President of the St. Thomas More Catholic Lawyers Guild. He currently serves as Chairman of the John Dustin Buckman Charitable Trust, which provides funding for children’s charities throughout the greater-Memphis area.
Hutton graduated from Christian Brothers High School prior to attending Vanderbilt University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, and was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa. He later attended Vanderbilt Law School.
Hutton and his wife Maureen have four children and are parishioners at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Their family are dedicated advocates of Catholic education.