James J. Kilpatrick, who rose from cub reporter to become one of the South's most prominent newspaper editors and the nation's most widely syndicated political columnist, died last night of congestive heart failure. He was 89.
TV watchers in the 70s knew Kilpatrick as the conservative half of the ``Point-Counterpoint'' segment of the CBS ``60 Minutes.'' His sparring with liberal commentator Shana Alexander was famously parodied on Saturday Night Live. Before retiring a couple of years ago, he worked for years for
Universal Press Syndicate. He also was the author of a dozen books and numerous magazine
articles. He wrote columns on the Supreme Court and The Writer's Art, on the use and abuse of the English language, which appeared in hundreds of newspapers.
Kilpatrick was for many years a vocal supporter of racial segregation. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down separate but equal schools in its Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954,
he accused the court of repudiating the Constitution. His wife said he apologized over and over publicly and in print when he could about being on the wrong side of the segregation issue.
Kilpatrick, who received numerous journalism awards, was one of the few columnists ever honored as a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists.