Category Archive 'Robert Bork'

12 Sep 2018

Democrats Finally Getting What’s Coming to Them

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Nemesis, statue dedicated by Ptollanubis. Marble, found in Egypt, 2nd century AD. Louvre Ma 4873.

Noemie Emery gleefully observes that the day of reckoning for democrats for what they did to Robert Bork has arrived.

Are you happy now, Teddy Kennedy? Are you happy, Joe Biden? Are you happy now, Harry Reid? It’s due to the things that you did and said that Donald J. Trump is now naming his second Supreme Court justice in under two years in office. It is your fault that the once courtly process of Supreme Court appointments turned into the blood-and-thunder-eye-gouging drama that we hate and we live through today.

It was 31 years ago, in 1987, that Edward M. Kennedy burst on the floor of the Senate to tell us all that with Robert Bork on the Supreme Court, “women would be forced Into back-alley abortions,” blacks would eat at segregated lunch counters, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the freedom of millions would hang by a thread.

Before it was over, liberals would raise and spend over $10 million in negative ads (quite a sum at the time) and in lobbying efforts. They would threaten black witnesses with career-ending reprisals and seize and search records of video rentals for signs of blue movies that were never found.

As Steve Hayward says, “The demagogic nature of the public campaign against him made it a watershed moment in American politics, permanently deforming the nomination process as for the judiciary, with ideological battles now extending to the lower federal courts as well.”


Tell us, Chuck Schumer, where is that filibuster, now that you need it?

20 Dec 2012

Robert Heron Bork (1927-2012)

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Walter Olson argues that Judge Bork lost the battle for his own Supreme Court Confirmation but, while the liberals weren’t noticing, has been winning the war of constitutional interpretation on behalf of fideism.

[T]he confirmation critique that makes it into every Bork obituary [is] Ted Kennedy’s blowhard caricature, intended for northern liberal consumption, of “Robert Bork’s America” as “a land in which women would be forced into back alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, school children could not be taught about evolution,” and so on.

Never in memory had a judicial nomination been fought in such language. Why?

As a constitutional law scholar, Bork had distinguished himself even among conservatives for his scathing critique of the Warren Court, which he accused essentially of having made up constitutional law as it went along. …

Within a few years, presidents of both parties were taking care to pick nominees with schmoozy as opposed to prickly personalities — and willing to submit to coaching on how to give off that oh-so-important empathetic vibe without actually committing to anything.

Ideologically predictable though some of these folks might be, they lacked the intellectual heft and daring paper trail of a Richard Epstein on the right, a Cass Sunstein on the left or a Richard Posner somewhere in between. …

But with regard to the Warren Court, it’s looking as if he’ll have the last laugh. Obama’s high court nominees are just as eager as George W. Bush’s to decry the practice of making up the constitution as one goes along, while “liberal originalism,” which takes seriously the insistence of critics like Bork that judges must adhere to what’s actually in the founding document, is making headway among scholars at places like Yale Law School.

Not such a bad legacy.


David Frum also remembered the distinguished jurist as a man who believed in personal modesty and who exercised official responsibility with objectivity and restraint.

Pessimistic as he was, however, Robert Bork was in no way bitter or angry. “Mordant” is the word I think I want to describe his conversation. His bleak assessment of his fellow human creatures was based upon hard experience. He was used to hearing his ideas distorted, and his best actions distorted and vilified. Before his nomination to the Supreme Court, Bork was best known as the man who fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Bork’s two immediate superiors in the Department of Justice had resigned rather than execute the presidential order. Bork didn’t approve the order any more than the others did. But he also understood that the order was a legal one, and that somebody sooner or later was going to have to carry it out. This unpleasant duty had to be done, and since it had to be done, Bork’s sense of responsibility required him to do it.

The whole domain of law and judging was bounded, in Bork’s view, by a like sense of responsibility. Laywers and judges, as he saw it, were not knight-errant righters of wrong, not freelance agents of abstract justice, but fallible people no wiser than anyone else, entrusted only with certain defined powers to settle certain kinds of disputes. Those judges who claimed greater power received more applause than Robert Bork ever drew, but they did not deserve. Their actions were power-grabbing and their motives were arrogant. Bork made this case powerfully and vividly in the best book of his later years, Coercing Virtue.

22 Jun 2010

You Heard the Lady, Senators, Bork Her Thoroughly

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Elena Kagan says (in a speech at Case Western Reserve in 1997) she “loved what happened in the Bork hearings… The Bork hearings were great, the Bork hearings were educational. The Bork hearings were the best thing that ever happened to Constitutional Democracy.”

0:19 video

From Breitbart via Glenn Reynolds.

09 Jun 2007

Robert Bork Sues Yale Club

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In the dog-bites-man department, famous conservative legal scholar Robert Bork is contributing to the contemporary flood of tort litigation.

The New York Times quotes from the text of Judge Bork’s complaint:

(On) “the evening of June 6, 2006,” …The New Criterion magazine held an event at the Yale Club in honor of Hilton Kramer, the magazine’s co-founder. Mr. Bork, a contributor to the magazine, was among those invited to deliver remarks.

The event was held in a banquet room, the suit explains, where the club’s staff had erected a dais atop which a lectern had been placed for the speakers. It is the Yale Club’s “normal practice,” the suit contends, to provide a set of stairs so that the speakers may ascend easily to their appointed perch.

“At the New Criterion event, however, the Yale Club failed to provide any steps between the floor and dais,” the suit claims. “Nor did the Yale Club provide a handrail or any other reasonable feature to assist guests attempting to climb to the dais.”

Mr. Bork fell backward while ascending the dais, striking his left leg on the side of the dais and bumping his head, the suit claims. As a result of the fall, a hematoma formed on his leg and later burst. The injury required surgery, extended medical treatment and months of physical therapy, the suit contends.

“Mr. Bork suffered excruciating pain as a result of this injury,” according to the suit, “and was largely immobile during the months in which he received physical therapy.” Not only was he forced to use a cane, the suit maintains, but he also still walks with a limp.

How many 80 year olds normally limp or need to a cane, after all?

I can see how it could easily be difficult for a senior citizen to mount a tall platform without the assistance of some steps and something to hold onto, and whoever set up the room was doubtless inconsiderate of the aged. But service requests are typically quickly honored at the Yale Club.

If the room arranger lacked foresight about those missing steps, so too did Judge Bork, who could easily have beckoned a Yale Club waiter and demanded some portable steps and a handrail be provided.

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