On August 14, 2012, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois awarded over 1.3 million dollars to the National Rifle Association (NRA) to reimburse it for attorneys’ fees for the legal work NRA’s lawyers did in thecases of National Rifle Association v. City of Chicago andNational Rifle Association v. Village of Oak Park, and for its role and significant work as a party in the Supreme Court case McDonald v. City of Chicago. The checks are in! A copy of the $663,294.10 check from the Village of Oak Park can be viewed here. A copy of the $663,294.10 check from the City of Chicago can be view here.
The filings in these three cases can be viewed by clicking on the respective case name. These three cases were all filed shortly after the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court decision was issued. That decision struck down a Washington D.C. law banning handgun possession, and recognized an individual right to self-defense and to keep and bear arms. These cases were designed to get the Supreme Court to resolve the issue of whether the Second Amendment, in addition to prohibiting federal government infringement, also prohibited state and local governments from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. In theMcDonald decision, the Supreme Court extended the Second Amendment’s protections to the state and local government level, just as self-defense civil rights advocates had hoped it would.
All plaintiffs filed those attorney fee recovery motions in the District Court. In opposing the attorney fee motions, Chicago and Oak Park argued that because the ordinances were repealed before an injunction or judgment could be entered, the plaintiffs in all three cases were not "prevailing parties" and therefore were not entitled to recover attorneys’ fees. On that basis, the District Court denied all plaintiffs their attorneys’ fees.