Bench Memos

A Great Scholar Has Died

I’ve just caught up on the news at The Corner and on the American Enterprise Institute’s site that the great political scientist Robert A. Goldwin died yesterday.  Goldwin wrote the single best book on the origins of the Bill of Rights, From Parchment to Power (1997).  A few years before the book’s publication, I had the privilege of joining Goldwin on an APSA panel on the Bill of Rights, while his thoughts on this subject were still in embryo.  It was a brief encounter with deep learning and nimble insights that has stuck with me ever since.  He was a great impresario of ideas, editing a wonderful series of AEI essay collections on the Constitution in the 1980s and 1990s, in connection with the bicentennial.  But Goldwin’s own output, never voluminous, was invariably more interesting than what he solicited from others.  I never read anything by him from which I didn’t learn something worth knowing.