Cultural Revolutions

Farewell, Professor

Prof. William J. Quirk taught at the University of South Carolina School of Law for 44 years.  In that capacity, he influenced and encouraged hundreds of students. A favorite class was his survey of the Constitution.  Guided by Professor Quirk, students contemplated and discussed such matters as the Articles of Confederation, the Treaty of Paris, and the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798.  Instead of trying to make sense of the High Court’s latest usurpation, students delved into Jefferson’s and Madison’s debate on whether the earth belongs to the living and the extent to which previous generations can bind their progeny with chains of debt.

Professor Quirk was a man of intellect, integrity, and generosity.  He died on September 22, in Columbia, South Carolina.

Although he was born in the northeast and loved New York City, Professor Quirk was a Jeffersonian at heart.  He distrusted centralized power and viewed all branches of government as agents of the people.  In one of his final writing projects, Professor Quirk averred that “[t]he holder of a delegated power . . . must decide whether or not the proposed action is within his grant.  He may be wrong, but if he is, he’s accountable to the grantor and no one else.  The branches are separate and coequal and the grantor is the people.”  What a cogent summary of the old republican principle...

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