John Kurzweil, RIP


Author: Harold Johnson

The very sad news comes that John Kurzweil — publisher of the California Political Review, a powerful voice in the conservative movement, and a good friend of PLF — passed away last night after an extended illness. 

Whoever wrote that “politics is the preoccupation of the quarter-educated” didn’t know John Kurzweil.   John was a passionate political activist—with unshakable conservative Republican principles—but he brought to his writings about the day-to-day political fray a perspective informed by a philosophical and theological tradition stretching back centuries.

So, a ringside report on some GOP primary battle could be sprinkled with insights from C.S. Lewis, Cardinal Newman, Chesterton and Shakespeare.  John’s consistent goal was to hold up an enduring standard—fidelity to the Constitution and its principles of limited government—to which politicians should aspire and by which they should be judged.

John’s magazine regularly published columns by PLF attorneys on our pro-freedom litigation, as well as heavily researched policy essays by PLF's Dave Stirling—articles that would sometimes spur calls from newspaper editors seeking re-publishing rights.

John first made his mark, statewide, by providing intellectual ballast for the campaign that ousted Chief Justice Rose Bird and two of her California Supreme Court colleagues, more than two decades ago.  His “Supreme Court Project” (if I recall the name correctly) published several “Blue Books” by noted scholars that made the case, in serious legal terms, why the three jurists had exceeded their role as judges and taken on the part of legislators.

Rose Bird’s backers had tried to dismiss opposition as small-minded bumpkinism, belittling the idea that mere voters could judge judges.  That line of attack quickly faded after John’s impressive “Blue Books” appeared, so it’s not too much to say that he played a central role in a milestone event in California’s legal and political history.   

A devout Catholic, John was a devoted friend and committed family man.  To his wife and family, we offer deep sympathy.