With his encyclopedic knowledge of education and civil rights laws, Senior Litigation Counsel Dick Komer is a uniquely valuable resource for IJ and for school choice advocates nationwide. Dick regularly counsels activists, reviews choice legislation for constitutional infirmities, gives speeches, presents testimony and debates choice opponents. On top of that, he handles litigation. Currently, Dick heads up our strategic litigation campaign to overturn the Blaine Amendments that are found in many state constitutions and that pose a threat to the expansion of school choice.
Dick has been a steady presence at IJ for nearly 10 years, and played a key role in the Zelman litigation that culminated in the dramatic U.S. Supreme Court victory for vouchers this past June. Throughout his time here, Dick has shown a tireless and passionate dedication to secure for all children the chance for a good education.
Before coming to IJ, Dick worked as a federal civil rights lawyer at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Departments of Justice, Education, and Heath, Education, and Welfare. While at the Education Department he produced a legal opinion that proved decisive in securing a victory in the first round of litigation for the Milwaukee voucher program. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard and law degree from the University of Virginia Law School.
When he’s not working, Dick is a devoted father to his two children, Bob and Anne. His office is festooned with pictures of his children and pictures by his children. Dick and his wife, Linda, have established a wonderful tradition every Fourth of July when they open up their lakeside home and yard to all of us at IJ and dozens of other friends for a joyous party and fireworks celebration. Dick can always be found at the grill with a big smile making sure everyone’s hot dogs and hamburgers come out just right. The food, fun and fireworks leave all who attend fully sated, but looking forward to the next year’s event.
Combining keen intellect, commitment to principle and ability to have fun, Dick Komer is a true IJ classic!
Chip Mellor is the Institute’s president and general counsel.