Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Bernard Siegen (1924-2006)

Thanks to How Appealing, I learned last week of Bernard Siegen's death.  Siegen was an emeritus professor at the University San Diego.  His obituary in the LA Times is here, which has a little more about him as a person than the one in the New York Times.  Both are great reading.  Here's a taste of the LA Times editorial:

"This was an unlikely firebrand," said Richard A. Epstein, a University of Chicago law professor. "What made Bernie such an important figure was that his legal instincts were very good."

Siegan's strongly held conviction — that economic freedoms deserved the same protections as the freedoms of speech, religion and the press — went "very much against conventional wisdom in the 1970s," said Maimon Schwarzschild, a fellow law professor at the University of San Diego.

It also made Siegan, a Libertarian, one of the key legal and constitutional thinkers in the movement of ideas that became the Reagan Revolution, according to Schwarzschild. . . .

A 1980 book by Siegan, "Economic Liberties and the Constitution," was "the opening salvo" in the revival of the property-rights movement, said Epstein . . . .

David Bernstein has posted about Professor Siegen's impact over at Volokh; the obituary in the National Review On-Line is similar.  Propertyprof readers may be familiar with his Economic Liberties and the Constitution (University of Chicago, 1980).  I'm most familiar with Property Rights: From Magna Carta to the Fourteenth Amendment (Transaction 2001).  You may also remember that he was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals by President Reagan.

Alfred L. Brophy

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