Edwin Baker passed away yesterday.
I join others in lamenting the loss.
He was a personal hero of mine, for his rigorous scholarship and intellectual honesty. He became a friend because of his generosity, humor, and just deep kindness.
I read his scholarship during my third year in law school, while writing what became my first law review article. My scholarship is still greatly influenced by his work. As were my career decisions–to become a law professor and First Amendment advocate.
Ed and I later met and became friends. We once both went to Amman, Jordan, to give lectures to Jordanian journalists about the American First Amendment, journalism, and civil society. There is a picture of Ed and me in Jordan. I am sitting next to him on a bus with my arm around him as we are heading to the Dead Sea. We’re both smiling, but I’m smiling like a giddy little kid on his way to open Christmas presents. I wrote this caption to the picture when I posted it on Facebook: “C. Edwin Baker is one of my heroes. I got to hang out in Jordan eating lamb chops, seeing ruins, and chatting about the First Amendment with Ed. Most of the pictures are of ruins. But yes, I was this happy.”
And now I feel the opposite of that, about that sad. It’s a great loss.
I’ll miss calling him to discuss drafts of papers or recent policy initiatives. And I’ll miss looking forward to his next article or next book or to the next time he advises his friends in the public interest media advocacy community. (He was a hero to us all…) And I’ll miss seeing him for lunch in New York City, when I visit.
So, in short, like so many others who had the benefit of Ed’s generosity, kindness, honesty, genius, I’ll miss Ed Baker.
Note, Ed’s sister provided this comment:
A public Memorial Service for Ed Baker will be held on Jan. 31, at 2:00 pm in the Moot Court Room at Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University (5th Ave. at 12th Street). There will be a reception in the lobby following the Memorial. His cremated remains will be buried privately at a later date in the Baker family plot in Madisonville, KY.