-Los Angeles Times, October 18, 2009 Editorial Board
Colleagues said Barnett, who retired in 2003, was a tireless advocate of free speech rights and had spent his last years as a vocal critic of the speed with which the California Supreme Court handed down its decisions and the way it went about much of its day-to-day business.
-The Recorder, October 19, 2009 by Petra Pasternak
“If there is such a thing as a constructive gadfly, that was Steve,” said Berkeley law professor Richard Buxbaum, who knew him since Barnett joined the faculty in 1967…. He had an engaging way of making deans and faculty members uncomfortably aware of some of the consequences of their decisions,” Buxbaum said, “often to the betterment later.”
Choper said he often called Barnett a muckraker because the professor would uncover policies at the school he didn’t agree with and “he just wouldn’t let it go…. He wanted to do something about it.” Choper, who served for a time as the dean, said he’d receive regular memos from Barnett outlining what he could be doing better.
-San Francisco Chronicle, October 21, 2009 by Bob Egelko
He was a leader in “shaping public policy concerning the industrial structure and public regulation of both print and visual media,” said Richard Buxbaum, a fellow Berkeley law professor.
“In his scholarship, Steve was a devastating critic of the practices of the California Supreme Court and the California State Bar,” said another UC Berkeley colleague, Melvin Eisenberg. “He did a lot of acute, penetrating research that no one else has done regarding judicial transparency and legitimacy.”
-The New York Times, October 21, 2009 by William Grimes
“Stephen Barnett was probably California’s leading analyst and critic of the way the California Supreme Court goes about its business,” said Stephen Sugarman, a professor and associate dean at Berkeley’s law school.