week the nation lost a truly great judge — and AEI lost a truly great
friend — when Judge Stephen F. Williams died of complications from the
coronavirus. He was one of the keenest minds and kindest men in
Washington. After President Reagan appointed him to the US Court of Appeals for
the DC Circuit in 1986, Judge Williams wrote significant judicial
opinions on some of the most challenging constitutional and regulatory
issues of our time.
Both before and after his judicial appointment, Steve brightened our own little world at AEI. For many years he was a regular presence at AEI events. An expert on regulatory policy generally and energy policy specifically, he wrote a book on energy regulation, The Natural Gas Revolution of 1985, which AEI Press published in 1985. He also contributed to Regulation magazine, which at the time was published by AEI. We were enriched by the insights of this modest professor and jurist whose intellect was exceptionally wide-ranging — as exemplified by his last two books (both on early 20th century Russia), as well as by his 2002 AEI Bradley Lecture on “radical reform — transitions to liberal democracy and the rule of law,” a video of which is available at C-SPAN.
The DC Circuit issued a statement mourning his passing; we commend it to you along with The Washington Post’s obituary, as well as the transcript of remarks by Judge Laurence Silberman and others on the occasion of the DC Circuit’s unveiling of Judge Williams’s portrait in 2006. They give a sense of the respect that his colleagues and so many at AEI had for Judge Williams. We extend our condolences to his wife Faith and to his family.