Professor Emeritus Arthur Berney (1930 – 2020)

Professor Emeritus Arthur Berney passed away in his Cambridge home on March 31, 2020. He was 89 years old.

Professor Berney began teaching at BC Law in the fall of 1964 (together with fellow professor, James Houghteling). Professor Berney, a leading civil rights activist, went on to be one of the school’s most revered professors. He taught courses in constitutional law, communications law and national security law before retiring from active teaching duties in 2001.

Among his many endeavors, he organized a group of BC Law students in 1966 in response to a request to schools across the nation to send volunteers to the country’s hot spots to advocate for civil rights laws. The students came to be known as Berney’s Raiders. Their mission was to assist legal groups involved in civil rights litigation anywhere in the country on any matter that needed their help. Fifteen students fanned out across the country during the summer of 1966, aiding in all different types of civil rights work, whether fighting to protect train service to an all-black community or advocating for Native Americans in front of tribal courts.

One student, Jon Schneider ’68, worked with Professor Berney on Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 seminal case striking down bans prohibiting interracial marriage. The due process rationale Professor Berney championed in the Loving brief was the foundation for the recognition of marriage equality for same-sex couples decades later.

Professor Berney was married to his dear wife, Alice, for over 60 years. He was survived by his two sons.

Read more about Professor Berney’s life here.