Remembering Walter Berns

Michael S. Greve, Library of Law and Liberty, January 12, 2015.


This past Saturday, Walter Berns died at the age of 95.

Walter Berns was one of the truly great constitutional scholars and political theorists of his generation, or any generation since. A student of Leo Strauss’s, he taught at Louisiana State University, Yale University, and (beginning in 1959) in Cornell University’s Department of Government, which he chaired for several years.  He resigned his position in 1969, when a feckless university administration caved in to armed thugs who had occupied university buildings. Cornell exposed faculty members who urged a defense of liberal education and resistance to mob rule—Walter Berns and Allan Bloom prominent among them—to relentless attacks. Walter Berns moved to the University of Toronto and, in 1979, to Washington, D.C., to Georgetown University and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).


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