The Corner

Culture

Remembering Gerald Walpin

This news is several days old, but I just now read that former AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin, the first direct employment victim of the Obama administration’s war against propriety, was struck and killed by a vehicle Friday while crossing a Manhattan Street. Jerry was a fine public servant, a deeply principled conservative, and a wonderful human being. This is an awful tragedy, and a terrible loss.

When the Obama administration engineered — illegally, although the bad guys got away with it — the firing of Walpin from his job as watchdog of the Corporation for National and Community Service, we editorialists at the Washington Times (my job at the time) were appalled. With me running point, we began a long series of editorials and columns (more than a dozen) breaking new stories reporting ever-more outlandish aspects of the case. Without much originality, but with hopes that establishment media would give more than a random few column inches to the story, I dubbed the scandal “Walpin-Gate.” Rather than recap it all,  I provide a few of the links (here, here, here, here, and here). We were right about the Obama administration’s war against Inspectors General. At one point, 47 of the 73 federal IGs wrote an open letter blasting the Obamites for stonewalling investigations.

But Walpin was more than just a victim of the Obamites, more than a canary in a very fetid coal mine. After his case faded from view, I had the occasion to sit with him at a Federalist Society dinner in Washington, and we became friends, or at least friends at a distance (as I fairly soon thereafter returned to life in Alabama). Jerry was warm; he was witty; and he was lively and intellectually sharp as a tack.

After leaving public service, Jerry kept busy writing, learnedly, on a number of law-related topics. He wrote a brilliant Touro Law Review piece on the legal fight over religious liberty; earlier this month he wrote for FoxNews.com on the trend of colleges shutting down free speech; and in 2013 he wrote an incisive book called The Supreme Court vs. The Constitution.

In the midst of all that, he found time to keep in touch. I have an email in-box full of wonderful notes from Jerry complimenting me on various columns I wrote. Those notes always made my day.

I offer his wife Sheila and children Edward, Amanda and Jennifer sincerest condolences — and thanks for Jerry’s service to cause and country. I know Jerry rests in God’s grace, peace, and joy, and I am grateful for the fond remembrances he left us.

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