Dick Komer


Senior Attorney

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Richard “Dick” Komer serves as a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. He litigates school choice cases in both federal and state courts. Several of his current cases involve the constitutionality of allowing school choice programs to include religious schools among the private schools that can participate. He is IJ’s resident expert on state Blaine Amendments.

Prior to his work at the Institute, Dick worked as a career civil rights lawyer for the federal government, working at the Departments of Education and Justice, as well as at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, first as a special assistant to the Chairman, Clarence Thomas, and then as Director of the Office of Legal Counsel. He ended his government employment as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education.

Dick has worked at IJ since 1993, although most of that time he worked part-time, spending the rest of his time taking care of his two children, Bob and Anne, until they graduated from high school.

He received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1978 and his B.A. from Harvard College in 1974.

Dick Komer is a member of the DC bar.

In the News

Research and Reports

  • March 6, 2010    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Bulletproofing School Choice

    How to Write Sound & Constitutional Legislation to Expand Educational Opportunity

    This paper brings together the hard-won lessons of IJ’s experiences to help advocates and lawmakers craft effective school choice legislation likely to withstand a legal challenge.

  • December 14, 2009    |    Scholarly Articles

    After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Zelman v. SimmonsHarris, only state religion clauses represent a potential constitutional bar to the inclusion of religious options in properly designed school choice programs. The two most significant are compelled support clauses and Blaine Amendments. Both are frequently misinterpreted by state courts as applied to school choice when…

  • September 20, 2016    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    School Choice and State Constitutions

    A Guide to Designing School Choice Programs

    After reviewing each state’s constitutional provisions for passages most relevant to school choice legislation, as well as any case law or legal opinions involving those provisions, IJ found that in nearly every state in the union, a well-designed school choice program is viable.

Amicus Briefs

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