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October 15, 2007


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So very sad. David Currie was a great teacher, a fantastic intellectual and a decent and loving soul. He shall be missed.

Joan A. Conway

My generation is beginning to fall. I lost my former husband last December and he was born in 1937.

I often heard that the good die young and the bad live long!

Why do you think this is said about the dead people?

God rest his soul, and I hope he finds peace in his afterlife.


David Currie was a rookie professor with my class of rookies (1964) and quickly endeared himself to us. I, and I'm sure my classmates as well, mourn his passing.

Todd Henderson

Professor Currie taught me constitutional law when I was a student at Chicago, and we served briefly together on the faculty. He represented everything great about Chicago -- he was genuine, dogged, intellectually curious and honest, passionate, an incredibly hard worker, and, most importantly, kind, compassionate, and approachable. I will remember him most for his incredible skill in the classroom--the best teacher I ever had anywhere--and for his personal warmth. He lived a tremendous life and touched all those with whom he interacted. We will all miss him dearly.

Terence Abad

This news hit me harder than I would have expected. I wonder how many of my classmates (1991) or others who took Property from the great David Currie felt the same urge I did this evening to dig out my property case book and re-read Pierson v. Post.

I'm sure that for the next several days (and probably for the rest of my life) I'll be remembering some of his more outrageous classroom antics while marveling at the good fortune I had to learn from one of the finest teachers ever to grace a classroom.

Brent Riggs

This is sad news. A youthful David Currie taught a third year Environmental Law seminar in 1968, my most enjoyable class at the Law School, despite his knocking my grade down a notch for the late term paper. American Airlines had temporarily lost my luggage into which, I was embarrassed to have to tell the young professor, I had placed the paper for the return flight to school from California after the Christmas holiday season--the flight had been diverted from O'Hare to Detroit until morning for bad weather, but the luggage went to Tahiti. I considered myself fortunate he even accepted the paper, good-naturedly enough; but a lesson was learned. And, more fortunately, he liked the paper. David Currie will always hold a warm place in my heart.


Very sad. I had the great pleasure of being tought American Constitutional Law by Professor Currie during his stay in Tuebingen (Germany). We were all impressed not only by his personality but also by his knowledge and understanding of American as well as German constitutional law, discussing problems in both systems back and forth in both languages (with the occasional reference to French law thrown in - in French, of course). Not surprisingly, his work "The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany (1994)" stands out as the best English language work on the Grundgesetz I ever came across.


I'm lost for words. Of the truly great teachers we had on the midway back in the mid-60's, and they were legion, David was special. Sharp was our grandfather. Blum and Kalven were our parents. But David was one of us. I feel old and mortal.

Jack L. Sammons

The following was sent out to the law school community at Mercer:

It is with sadness that I report to you the death of David Currie. The notice from University of Chicago Law School can be found below courtesy of Pat Longan.

Many of you met David when he was here to participate in our Conflicts Symposium, a symposium organized as a tribute to his father. The symposium was put together by Bruce Posnak, who also moderated one of the most absorbing panel discussions I have ever seen, and, I am told, is still considered a center piece of conflicts literature. David was also here on other occasions, sometimes to speak in one of his many areas, but mostly to visit his roots. David was born here while Brainerd was teaching at Mercer. (Brainerd had never seen a newborn before and, when he was shown David, insisted that there must be something wrong with him until Pic, his wife, said, "Well, I think he's beautiful." "You do?" replied an astonished Brainerd. "Well, I suppose he is then." And made a note to react differently next time around.)

Bruce and I, many years ago, had the great pleasure of spending many hours with David in Chicago chatting about his memories of his father. During that time we located some of the letters David sent to his father while David was a first year law student at Harvard. I'll pull these out of the files and share them with anyone interested. It's wonderful to read the exchange between two people, father and son, about whom it has been said of each that he was the model law professor of his generation.

The best of us has passed.

Jack L. Sammons
Griffin B. Bell Professor of Law
Mercer School of Law


Did anyone ever record the silly song he sang on the last day of ConLaw class? UChicago admin? Y'all should post it.

Tim Cashion

I was sorry to hear this news. I had the good fortune to read several of Professor Currie's books, and to hear him speak on a few occasions. His career as a scholar is one of the things that make the University of Chicago the University of Chicago.

Rich Fields

The model against which all at Chicago--faculty and students alike--measure themselves is no more. I never had the pleasure of more difficult, entertaining and fascinating classes. Professor Currie was always happy to chat, about the absurdity of federalism jurisprudence, the illegality of the administrative state, or the White Sox. Don't tell Dean Levmore, but Currie was singlehandedly worth the price of admission to the school. He will be greatly missed.


Having litigated in the federal courts for more than three decades, I found Professor Currie's course on federal courts to be by far the most useful I took at The Law School. I still have a copy of his casebook, although I confess I have not opened it in years.

Roger Cramton

David Currie was a good friend, a marvelous scholar and a co-author with me of a casebook on Conflict of Laws that had a large effect on the understanding of this subject and great influence on judicial decisions in the field. David’s father, Brainerd Currie, was a formative influence on both of us and the author of innumerable works of his own on federal courts, federal jurisdiction, and constitutional history. The Curries, father and son, were a formative influence on my entire professional life as an academic lawyer. Brainerd was one of my principal mentors when I was a law student at the University of Chicago (1952-1955); and I was his colleague on the University of Chicago Faculty in my beginning years as a law teacher (1958-1962).
Later, while I was at the University of Michigan Law School, I arranged for David to come as a visiting professor. We tried unsuccessfully to attract him permanently to Michigan, but did agree to work together on the first edition of the Conflicts book. Brainerd's work on demolishing the old mechanical conflict of laws approach of the original Restatement of Conflict of Laws had a stifling influence on the understanding of the subject; and David and our work was the pioneering casebook on the approach. Herma Hill Kay, now teaching at the University of California (Berkeley) Law School, who had been Brainerd’s research assistant at the University of Chicago Law School, later serving as Dean at Berkeley, was a co-author and, with others, continues to edit the book, which is now in its sixth edition.

Roger C. Cramton
Stevens Professor of Law Emeritus
Cornell Law School

david lander

David was a giften teacher and scholar and person. One incident stands out. It was five minutes past starting time for Fed Jur and no one was at the lecturn. The buzz in the room grew louder and louder and all of a sudden from within our midst David started teaching and we realized he had been seated among us wearing his baseball cap. It was a touching and funny moment, and one which further cemented his bond with us as he combined this tactic with the disciplined rigor he brought to our education. While we were his students in 1968 David expanded his interest and expertise to include the environment and began teaching a seminar on water resources. He brought the same creative skill and astounding teaching techniques from Fed Jur and Conflicts to this area and it was a joy to watch him grow and stretch and learn with him.

Kimball Corson

David Currie's classes were the ones I enjoyed most in the Law School. No one ever dozed off in a Currie class. That he remained there after I left to delight later students always left me with fond thoughts and bemusement. I could picture and hear him without being there.

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