April 02, 2008

Attorney behind gun control case to speak at SIUC

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Robert A. Levy, the Florida attorney who helped shepherd constitutional arguments on gun control to the U.S. Supreme Court last month, will speak at the Southern Illinois University School of Law next week.

Levy will lecture at 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, April 9, in the law school's auditorium. The law school's Federalist Society, a registered student organization, is sponsoring Levy's visit. Admission is free.

Levy is challenging Washington, D.C.'s strict mid-1970s home rule law that bans private handgun ownership for people other than active and retired law enforcement officers. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments March 18. A decision is expected this summer.

The case marks the first time in nearly 70 years the U.S. Supreme Court will directly rule on a gun rights case. Some legal observers predict a decision recognizing individual gun ownership rights within the Second Amendment could result in challenges to other anti-gun regulations across the nation.

The lecture is important because "gun control is a central issue that almost everyone has an opinion about," said Andrew J. Rankin, a second-year law student who is also president of the law school's Federalist Society.

"Mr. Levy has personally funded the litigation of a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court that, no matter which side of the debate you may fall on, could have a direct effect on the legality of gun ownership for all Americans.

"Learning more about the current and possible future status of gun control laws from the man who could turn such laws on their head will be a great educational experience for all who attend," Rankin said.

Levy is a senior fellow in constitutional studies and a member of the board of directors at the Washington, D.C.-based Cato Institute, a non-profit public policy research foundation. Levy joined the Cato Institute in 1997 after 25 years in business, and founded CDA Investment Technologies.

Levy earned a doctorate in business from the American University, and his law degree from the George Mason University School of Law.

He is the author of several articles on investments, law and public policy. Levy's writings have appeared in publications including "The New York Times," "Wall Street Journal," "Washington Post," and "National Review." He has also appeared on national radio and television programs including "Nightline," "Crossfire," "The O'Reilly Factor," and "Hardball."

Levy is also author of the 2004 book, "Shakedown: How Corporations, Government and Trial Lawyers Abuse the Judicial Process." Another book he is co-authoring, "The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom," is due out in the May.