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Curt A. Levey

Saturday, May 1st, 2010
CCRKBA announces that CurtA. Levey, Executive Director of theCommittee for Justice (CFJ), is theCCRKBA Gun Rights Defender ofthe Month for May.In nominating Levey for theAward, John M. Snyder, CCRKBAPublic Affairs Director, noted that,“as issues involving the individualSecond Amendment civil right oflaw-abiding Americans to keep andbear arms more and more come beforethe courts, it is most importantthat the pro-gun community havewithin its ranks legal experts whounderstand the intrinsic connectionbetween the political and legalmanifestation of our gun rights.Levey is such an individual. Withinthis context, he has demonstratedin an articulate and forceful mannerthis understanding and the waysin which gun rights activists canproceed in a positive manner. Hemost certainly deserves a CCRKBAGun Rights Defender of the MonthAward.”Levey was a speaker at the nationalGun Rights Policy Conference(GRPC), co-sponsored by CCRKBAand the Second Amendment Foundationlast fall in St. Louis, Missouri.In an article written around thattime from CFJ in the Washington,D.C. area, Levey stated that, “Withan estimated 90 million firearmsowners in America and a hugemargin of popular support for aright to keep and bear arms, the gunrights community is a potent politicalforce. But until recently, it hadlittle reason to care about judges.That’s all changed with the arrivalof a new Supreme Court justice andthe Obama administration.”In referring to the McDonald v.City of Chicago case, Levey wrote in regardto it that the U.S. Supreme Court“Justices agreed to decide whetherthe Second Amendment gives Americansa constitutional right to keep andbear arms that is enforceable againststate and local gun laws. Coming onthe heels of the High Court’s landmarkgun rights decision last year,and at a time when the retirement oftwo Supreme Court Justices appearsimminent, the Chicago case remindsgun owners that their battlefield hasshifted to the courts and hastens theprofound change in the politics ofjudicial confirmations that began thissummer.”Levey indicated that the nominationand confirmation of Justice SoniaSotomayor to the Supreme Court wasa development that stimulated gunowners into action on the judicialconfirmation front. He recalled thatin the District of Columbia v. Hellercase, which took place before theSotomayor event, the Justices, withregard to the fight over gun rights,“transferred the theater of war fromlegislatures to the judiciary. However,Heller left two huge questionsunaddressed – the all-importantstandard for evaluating the constitutionalityof gun regulations, and theSecond Amendment’s application tostate and local laws. Moreover, theSupreme Court’s 5-4 split means thatif President Obama replaces one ofthe five center-right Justices, Helleritself could be gutted or even overturned.“As with other ideologically chargedissues in the hands of the courts, thefuture of gun rights depends as muchon the composition of the federalbench as on the strength of the legalarguments. That’s why I and otherspredicted that gun owners – theirfate tied to the selection of judges inthe wake of Heller – would emergeas a potent part of the coalitionadvocating against liberal judicialactivism and for judges who strictlyinterpret the Constitution.”Levey stated that the confirmationbattle over Sotomayor, whoserecord is not acceptable from a gunrights perspective, even though shewas confirmed, galvanized the gunrights movement over a court nominationin a way which heretoforehad not been the case.“The political dynamics of nominatingand confirming judges hasbeen forever altered,” Levey wrote.“Abortion rears its head in virtuallyevery Supreme Court or hotlycontested lower court confirmationcontest. Gun rights will now do thesame, especially as the explosionof Second Amendment litigationguarantees that more and more judicialnominees will have relevantrulings, briefs, articles and speechesto scrutinize. Abortion opponentshave been the most influential partof the coalition opposing judicialactivism. But the new, gun-owninggorilla in the room matches thepro-life movement in numbers andsurpasses it in ability to influencemoderate Republican and Democraticsenators.”After graduating from HarvardLaw School with honors and clerkingfor the U.S. Court of Appealsfor the Sixth Circuit, Curt served asDirector of Legal and Public Affairsat the Center for Individual Rights,a public interest law firm in Washington,D.C. Curt also has an M.S.and B.A. in computer science fromBrown University.