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Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:32 AM

Robert Bork’s Tragedy by Linda Greenhouse

Even before Robert Bork died last month, he had achieved something close to martyrdom. In the quarter-century since the Senate rejected his Supreme Court nomination, successive generations of conservative lawyers and activists have carried the torch, depicting his defeat as an injustice of historic proportion. Following his death at the age of 85, liberals mostly maintained a respectful silence while conservatives dusted off old complaints about the conduct of the confirmation hearing and the unfairness, in their view, of the “borking” the nominee received. Clearly, the Bork Battle survives Bork.

No one who actually lived through the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in September 1987 is without views on the subject, and I have previously offered mine. I think that the televised hearing, which held the country spellbound, provided a rare and valuable public seminar on the meaning of the Constitution, the methods of constitutional interpretation, and the different answers that competing methods offer to the most profound questions of individual autonomy and equality. . .

Some time after the Senate vote, I was invited to a conversation with Judge Bork at the offices of The New Republic magazine. He was hurting and angry. When my turn came to ask a question, I asked him whether, at any time during the hearing, he had felt that a member of the Judiciary Committee had met him on his own level in serious constitutional conversation.

“No,” he answered.

“Not even Arlen Specter?” I asked.

“Specter had his mind made up from the beginning,” he snapped.

I knew that wasn’t true, although Judge Bork clearly believed it. . .

When the Senate rejected his backward-looking vision and instead embraced Anthony Kennedy, who praised the Constitution’s framers for having made “a covenant with the future,” it was no tragedy for the country. But it was for a man, and it’s important to know the difference.



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Reply Robert Bork’s Tragedy by Linda Greenhouse (Original post)
elleng Jan 2013 OP
Warpy Jan 2013 #1
Confusious Jan 2013 #4
graham4anything Jan 2013 #2
elleng Jan 2013 #3
malthaussen Jan 2013 #5

Response to elleng (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:44 AM

1. The rigidity that caused him to snap about Specter

was the same rigidity that disqualified him from the bench. The constitution worked as intended in his case. Unfortunately, the Republicans reacted the way they always did, that the gauntlet had been thrown down and it was up to them to pick the craziest men they could find who didn't have much of a published opinion history.

He was simply unqualified both by temperament and by judicial outlook.

However, he need not have despaired. His name has become a synonym for something broken beyond repair, as in "I washed my jacket with my cell phone in the pocket, and now the phone's borked."

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:39 AM

4. His name has become a synonym for something broken beyond repair

Either that or cooking.

Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue,
Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:01 AM

2. Robert Bork? Nobody even remembered him when he died. He was a nobody, not a martyr


completley forgotten loon on the far right.

though the loons today shave

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:12 AM

3. Not exactly. You may not like him; neither do I, but . . .

'Following his failure to be confirmed, Bork resigned his seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and was for several years a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank. Bork also consulted for Netscape in the Microsoft litigation. Bork was a fellow at the Hudson Institute. He served as a visiting professor at the University of Richmond School of Law and was a professor at Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, FL. In 2011, Bork worked as a legal adviser for the presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney.[34] . . .

Bork died of complications from heart disease at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia, on December 19, 2012.[1][45][46] Following his death, Scalia referred to Bork as "one of the most influential legal scholars of the past 50 years" and "a good man and a loyal citizen." Mike Lee, Senator from Utah, called Bork "one of America's greatest jurists and a brilliant legal mind."[47]'


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Response to elleng (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:40 AM

5. I remember Bork most for the Saturday Night Massacre,

... and I was certainly pleased when his nomination to the Court failed. A tragedy, certainly, by the actual meaning of the word, but the thing I've always thought interesting about tragedy is that the "fatal flaw" is, after all, a flaw. We were better off without him.

-- Mal

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