James J. Kilpatrick

  • In the eyes of his critics, he liked to say, he was "10 miles to the right of Ivan the Terrible," and that was far enough to get some big questions very wrong. Conservative newspaper columnist James J. Kilpatrick, who died Aug. 15 at 89, made his name as an editorial writer in Richmond, where he used his well-crafted prose to become one of the South's most virulent defenders of racial segregation and antebellum concepts of states' rights, long after the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Yet he was also a champion of common sense against bureaucratic idiocy, of freedom for innocent prisoners and of grammar against the outrages of modern usage. As the right-wing half of Point-Counterpoint on 60 Minutes, Kilpatrick blazed a trail for legions of sparring TV pundits. For his unreconstructed racial views, he eventually apologized. For his deep-grained and eloquent resistance to liberal ideas in general--never.