Kent Greenawalt Death, Obituary – We have just recently become aware of Professor Kent Greenawalt’s passing. He was brilliant, kind, and so utterly respectable in every way. It was a great stroke of luck that we was able to work on my JSD with him because he is such a great advocate for many young scholars all over the world. Kent Greenwalt ’63 LL.B., who is widely regarded as an authority on constitutional law and legal philosophy, has spent the majority of his more than half a century at Columbia University teaching and publishing on topics including freedom of speech, freedom from discrimination, the separation of church and state, and criminal responsibility.
His seminal works include Speech, Crime, and the Uses of Language (1988) and Religious Convictions and Political Choice (1988). Both of these books were published in 1988. (1989). Greenawalt was a Kent Scholar while he was a student at Columbia Law School, and he also served as the editor in chief of the Columbia Law Review. After receiving his degree, he worked as a law clerk for Justice John M. Harlan of the United States Supreme Court and then went on to become an attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in Jackson, Mississippi.
In 1965, he became a member of the Law School faculty. In the beginning of his academic career, Greenawalt held positions as a deputy solicitor general in the United States Department of Justice from 1971 to 1972 and as a member of the civil rights committee of the New York City Bar Association from 1966 to 1969. These positions were held between the years 1966 and 1969. In 1980, he was honored with election to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Greenawalt was promoted to the position of University Professor in 1991, which is Columbia’s highest academic honor and faculty rank. This promotion gave him the opportunity to teach in multiple departments at the university, including the Department of Philosophy and the School of Law. Between the years 1991 and 1993, he served as the president of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy. In 2015, the Law Review hosted a symposium in his honor that lasted for an entire day and published essays that lauded his personal and professional contributions to the legal and Columbia communities.