Speaker Pelosi, Former AG Eric Holder, Others Praise Forty-Year Veteran of Legal Affairs and Litigation
Washington, D.C., Jan. 3, 2022 – Douglas N. Letter, an attorney with more than 40 years of experience in legal affairs and litigation at the highest levels in the U.S., is the new Chief Legal Officer at Brady, where he will oversee the organization’s legal work to end America’s gun violence epidemic. Prominent figures from former President Bill Clinton to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi have applauded Letter’s career.
“We are so pleased that the remarkable Doug Letter will lead our efforts in the courts to represent gun violence victims and survivors, to defend lifesaving laws, and to challenge unwise policies that endanger us all,” said Kris Brown, president of Brady.
Most recently, Letter served as General Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2019 to 2022, during one of the most legally challenging periods in that chamber’s history. For 40 years from 1978 to 2018, he was an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, ultimately serving as director of the appellate staff for the Civil Division. During his time at the DOJ, he also served as Associate Counsel to President Bill Clinton, as Deputy Associate Attorney General, and as Senior Counselor to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Mr. Letter has presented over 200 oral arguments, including before the U.S. Supreme Court and various federal appellate and district courts.
Just prior to joining the House, he served as a Senior Litigator at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was also a Visiting Professor of Law.
“Doug Letter’s singular focus throughout his distinguished legal career has been advancing the rule of law and protecting our most sacred and fundamental rights,” Brown said. “We expect he will bring the same level of intelligence, integrity, and fairness to the realm of Second Amendment jurisprudence that he has brought to so many cases before some of the highest courts in the land. In doing so, he will help us all reclaim a Second Amendment that puts human life and safety first.”
Like many others, Doug, a grandfather, felt compelled to join the gun violence prevention movement due to the increase in school-related and other mass shooting events. Core to his work at Brady will be the belief that one of the basic freedoms critical to Americans is quite simply the right to exist, which is under attack because of an extremist view of gun rights in America that is unsupported by the history, tradition, or context of the founding and development of our nation.
“Our founders had no intention of rendering citizens powerless against special interests or of making our Second Amendment a death sentence for hundreds of children and adults every year,” Letter said. “Brady is leading the fight to restore common-sense to firearms laws in America, and I’m pleased to join that fight.”
In his litigation career, Letter was involved in the following, among many other matters:
Won the litigation for Congress to access President Trump’s tax returns;
Challenged successfully in the Supreme Court President Trump’s unlawful citizenship question;
Argued four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court;
Successfully defended the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality before the U.S. Supreme Court amid calls for its invalidation.
Successfully defended investigations of President Trump for financial conflicts of interest; defended issuance of subpoenas for President Trump’s banking and accounting records.
Secured a court order against armed organized militias planning to occupy the City of Charlottesville a second time.
Several of Letter’s former superiors and colleagues reacted favorably to the news:
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives:
“For four years, Doug Letter has relentlessly defended the House, its Members and its prerogatives. His passion for public service and his brilliant legal mind have been essential to this Chamber’s work For The People.
“Under Doug’s leadership, the General Counsel’s Office has expertly handled complex litigation and provided wise legal advice to our Members, Officers, Committees and staff. One of our nation’s most skilled appellate lawyers and a leading expert on Constitutional law, Doug will continue to provide legal counsel of the highest caliber at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
“On behalf of the entire House community, I thank Doug for his dedicated service and wish him and his entire family the very best in all of his future endeavors.”
Eric Holder, former Attorney General of the United States:
"Doug has spent his career leading investigations to ensure accountability, from Bush’s post-9/11 national security litigation to most recently serving as the top litigation attorney for the Jan. 6 select committee. He is fair and impartial counsel, having argued on behalf of administrations of both parties.
“At Brady, the nation’s oldest and boldest gun violence prevention organization, he will fight not for Democrats or Republicans but for the American people and their right to live free of the daily threat of gun violence. I am elated that our safety is in the hands of his wise legal counsel.”
Bennie Thompson, U.S. Representative; Jan. 6 Select Committee Chair:
“Doug Letter provided me with top notch legal advice. His vast experience and thorough knowledge of the law proved indispensable as the Select Committee pursued its work to uncover the facts and circumstances leading to the January 6th attack and make legislative recommendations.”
Professor Mary McCord, who headed the Justice Department's National Security Division:
"Doug will be an incredible asset to Brady. His litigation experience and commitment to serving the public, whether from within the government or from the outside, are unparalleled. We look forward to working with Doug and Brady in using the courts to fight against gun violence."
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.