The distinguished gentleman above is behind the legal challenge to the District of Columbia firearms control laws (D.C. Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02). His name is Robert A. Levy, and he is much more than co-counsel for Mr. Dick Heller in Supreme Court Case No. 07-290, District of Columbia vs. Anthony Dick Heller. He invented this case and, it might be said, he invented the Respondent, Dick Heller.
Mr. Levy is Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute. A wealthy businessman, he sits on the board of Cato, the Institute for Justice, the Federalist Society, and the George Mason University School of Law. He clerked for Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, and has written extensively. Mr. Levy has a Ph.D. in Business from American University and a J.D. from the George Mason University School of Law.
Liberals and moderates beyond the Beltway may be surprised that there are Libertarian intellectuals who think and publish about principles they support. If the only Libertarian they have heard of is Ron Paul, they may assume that all Libertarians are just against things.
From comments of firearms enthusiasts submitting amicus curiae briefs, I know that members of the gun culture have no idea that Mr. Levy organized this case, arranged the considerable funding it required, and found Mr. Heller, the 65-year-old security guard whose participation gives this case legal standing. Mr. Levy didn’t have to look far: Mr. Heller works at the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, a few blocks from the Supreme Court, near Union Station. The Thurgood Marshall Building houses the administrative arm of the Federal Court system, on U.S. Capitol land, but thanks to the magic of “Public-Private Partnership” belongs to a private developer, so Mr. Heller is not a sworn officer but works for a private contractor (U.S. Facilities Inc., if I am not mistaken).
Thanks to Mr. Levy’s astute handling of publicity and current media laziness (seen any Heller profiles in the paper?) the case looks like a battle between the “little guy,” Mr. Heller, and big bad District Government, not a weathy intellectual using Mr. Heller’s situation to make a point. Certainly that is how these things are done, but back when we had “the Press” and not “the Media,” we read about it. That’s when the First Amendment was taken seriously by its proponents.
Top image: Cato Imstitute, boston Globe; bottom image, Mike Licht.