James J. Kilpatrick, 1920-2010

James J. Kilpatrick, noted conservative commentator, author and columnist, sharp defender of federalism and states' rights and former segregationist who became a defender of a black handyman falsely convicted of murder, has passed away Sunday in Washington.

"Mr. Kilpatrick popularized interposition, the doctrine that individual states had the constitutional duty to interpose their separate sovereignties against federal court rulings that went beyond their rightful powers and, if necessary, to nullify them, an argument traced to the writings of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John C. Calhoun," The New York Times reports in his obituary this morning.

Though he changed his once-segregationist views on race, Kilpatrick did not embrace the power of the federal government to impose policy on the states outside its constitutional limits, brilliantly defending the conservative point of view, mostly notably on "60 Minutes" "Point/Counterpoint" segment through the 1970s.

A patriot to the end, Kilpatrick's home in Virginia's Blue Ridge mountains flew two flags, that of the United States and that of the Revolutionary War's Culpeper Minutemen.


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