Cato Institute Center for Constitutional Studies Named in Honor of Champion of Liberty Robert A. Levy

October 31, 2017

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Cato Institute President and CEO Peter Goettler announced the naming of the Institute’s legal center as the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies. The Center was founded in 1989 to focus on restoring the Madisonian vision of liberty through constitutionally limited government. Levy served as Senior Fellow at the Center before joining Cato’s board of directors.

But law was a second career for Levy. After earning a Ph.D. in business at American University in 1966, Levy built a successful global business, CDA Investment Technologies. He sold the business 20 years later and retired as CEO in 1991. Levy then attended George Mason Law School, where he was chief articles editor of the law review and class valedictorian, graduating with a juris doctor degree focusing on constitutional law.

Levy did an internship with the Institute for Justice upon graduating, following which he clerked for Judge Royce C. Lamberth on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and then for Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

In 1997, Levy joined Cato’s Center for Constitutional Studies. He began service on the Cato Institute Board of Directors in 2007, and became Chairman in 2008.

“Bob Levy’s energy, intellect, and dedication are an example for all,” said Goettler. “We are fortunate that he has devoted these prodigious assets to the cause of liberty, and to the Cato Institute. Whether it be in his role as a senior fellow, his leadership of the Institute as Chair of our Board of Directors, or his generosity as a sponsor, Bob has meant so much — and continues to mean so much — to the Cato Institute.”

Levy was an architect and the funder of the successful Supreme Court challenge to Washington, D.C.’s gun ban, District of Columbia v. Heller. Levy served as co-counsel with Alan Gura and Clark Neily. Neily now serves as Cato’s Vice President for Criminal Justice.

The Center was founded by Roger Pilon, who still serves as its director as well as Vice President for Legal Affairs at Cato.

“A ‘third way’ between judicial activism and restraint had been building for nearly a decade and a half, but the movement was still hit-and-miss,” said Pilon of the Center’s founding. “It lacked an institutional center to focus, refine, and promote the vision more broadly and systematically. Cato was receptive to this basically libertarian approach to the role of the courts under the Constitution.”

Naming the center in Levy’s honor was made possible through a substantial gift for Cato’s general operations from individuals who requested anonymity.

“The Center for Constitutional Studies, under Roger’s vision and guidance, has made an outstanding contribution to defending the values of individual liberty and limited government that are at the core of our work and mission, and has played a critical role throughout its history in establishing the reputation of the Institute,” said Goettler. “It’s therefore fitting that the Center bear the name of an individual who has also given so much to Cato.”