Courts and Character

Rainer Knopff, remarks from Claremont Institute APSA panel, September 2015.


I am honored to be here to discuss the life and work of Walter Berns – a wonderful teacher, a superb scholar, a beautiful writer, and, quite simply, one of the finest men I have known.

Harvey Mansfield has aptly described Berns as “a man with a chest.” So very true! A blander formulation would be to say that he was a man of great character. As such, he was perfectly suited to think and write about character, or virtue, as he did throughout his long career. He wrote especially about how modern Supreme Court jurisprudence undermined the citizen character required to sustain liberal democracy. Hence the title and theme of my remarks: Courts & Character.

Rainer Knopff [pdf]