Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Ed Baker, 1947-2009


The University of Pennsylvania Law School reports that Ed Baker died suddenly on Tuesday the 8th. He was 62 years old.

C. Edwin Baker, the Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law and Communication at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a leading scholar in the fields of constitutional law, communications law and free speech, died suddenly on Dec. 8 in New York City, where he had lived the past 20 years. He was 62. He collapsed while exercising and could not be revived.

Professor Baker was considered one of the country’s foremost authorities on the First Amendment and on mass media policy. Most recently, he focused his work on the economics of the news business, political philosophy, and jurisprudential questions concerning the egalitarian and libertarian bases of constitutional theory.

I knew Ed for many years and he was a wonderful, sweet, and gentle soul. He was also the finest media law scholar of his generation. His 2002 book, Media, Markets and Democracy, is a great achievement and essential for anyone teaching in the field. He was an endlessly inventive and creative scholar, who was not afraid to take contrarian stands about freedom of speech. In his writings on freedom of speech, campaign finance, and telecommunications law he emphasized that the purpose of the First Amendment was the vindication of individual liberty and not the protection of corporate power.

Ed always celebrated the dignity of the individual and the creative powers of the individual and he himself was a individualist in the finest sense of that word. He died at the height of his powers.

We will miss him.

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