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Robert H. Bork 1927-2012, RIP
Pajamas Media ^ | 12/19/12 | Roger Kimball

Posted on 12/19/2012 6:20:43 AM PST by cotton1706

Judge Robert H. Bork, one of the the greatest jurists this country has ever produced, died early this morning from heart complications in a Virginia hospital near his home. He was 84.

Bork was a national celebrity. Several years ago, my wife and I visited the Borks in Maine where they had taken a summer house off Somes Sound. I cannot count the times that total strangers would approach us at a lobster shack or park asking to shake the Judge’s hand and to assure him of their admiration and support.

Bork’s celebrity was only partly conferred upon him by brilliant legal work and his service as Solicitor General and then Acting Attorney General in the tumultuous Watergate years of the Nixon administration. (Andrew McCarthy wrote an excellent summary of Judge Bork’s work in The New Criterion a few years ago: “Robert H. Bork on Law and Life.”) But by far the most important fuel for fame was the riveting, not to say obscene, attack upon his candidacy for the Supreme Court in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan.

The vicious campaign waged against Judge Bork set a new low—possibly never exceeded—in the exhibition of unbridled leftist venom, indeed hate. Reporters combed through the Borks trash hoping to find comprising tidbits; they inspected his movie rentals, and were disgusted to find the films of John Wayne liberally represented. So hysterical was the campaign against Judge Bork that a new transitive verb entered our political vocabulary: “To Bork,” scruple at nothing in order to discredit and defeat a political figure. Monsieur Guillotine gave his name to that means of execution; “progressives,” those leftists haters of America who have so disfigured our national life since the 1960s, gave us the this new form of character assassination. The so-called “Lion of the Senate,” Ted Kennedy, surely one of the most despicable men ever to hold high public office in the United States (yes, that’s saying something), stood on the Senate floor and emitted a serious of calumnious lies designed not simply to prevent Judge Bork from being appointed to the Supreme Court but to soil his character irretrievably. “Robert Bork’s America,” quoth Kennedy,

is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit down at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of democracy.

A breathtaking congeries of falsehoods that, were they not protected by the prerogatives of senatorial privilege, would have taken a conspicuous place in the annals of malicious slander and character assassination. In The Tempting of America, Judge Bork recounts his incredulity at this tissue of malign fabrication. “It had simply never occurred to me that anybody could misrepresent my career and views as Kennedy did.” At the time, he notes, many people thought that Kennedy had blundered by emitting so flagrant, and flagrantly untrue, an attack. They were wrong. His “calculated personal assault, . . . more violent than any against a judicial nominee in our country’s history,” did the job (with a little help from Joe Biden and Arlen Specter). Not only was Kennedy instrumental in preventing a great jurist from taking his place on the Supreme Court, he also contributed immeasurably to the cheapening of American political discourse.

In a way, Robert Bork had the last laugh. Ted Kennedy went to his grave a rancid, lumbering, pathetic laughing stock. Bork went from intellectual triumph to intellectual triumph, contributing now-classic studies to the library of legal understanding and penning two of the most important works of social criticism of the last several decades, the aofremention Tempting of America and Slouching Toward Gemorrah, wild bestsellers both. I am proud to say that this spring Encounter Books will be publishing a memoir by Judge Bork called Saving Justice: Watergate,. The Saturday Night Massacre, and Other Adventures of a Solicitor General.

Bob Bork was a great American and a dear friend, witty, compassionate, with a laser-like analytical mind and compendious store of cultural reference. (It was he who introduced me to John Buchan’s marvelous memoir Memory, Hold the Door.) I will have more to say about Bob and his achievement in due course. For now, I wish merely to register my gratitude for his friendship, admiration of his work, and sorrow at his passing. Requiescat in pace.

TOPICS: Breaking News
KEYWORDS: arlenspecter; biden; bobbork; bork; borking; joebiden; judge; kennedy; obituary; progressives; reagan; robertbork; ronaldreagan; scotus; specter; supremecourt; tedkennedy; trubute
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To: cotton1706

Rest In Peace Your Honor, and thank you for so much.

81 posted on 12/19/2012 9:55:58 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: cotton1706
His nomination was opposed by the NRA because he was antigun and very anti incorporation of the 2nd Amendment. He may have been a "Conservative" but that alone is not predispositive of a progun attitude. For that matter neither is the label "Liberal." Being liberal doesn't necessarily make one antigun either.
82 posted on 12/19/2012 10:16:51 AM PST by ExSoldier (Stand up and be counted... OR LINE UP AND BE NUMBERED...)
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To: NKP_Vet

Just because Fox has not reported it while you were watching does not mean Fox did not report it. I saw it and heard it on Fox News this morning...believe me or not, your choice.

83 posted on 12/19/2012 10:18:46 AM PST by RGVTx
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To: cotton1706

Your Honor RIP!!!

84 posted on 12/19/2012 10:23:01 AM PST by tallyhoe
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To: cotton1706

I thought he was dead a while back. It must have been someone else.

85 posted on 12/19/2012 10:32:04 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: cotton1706

Wish you would have been on the Supreme Court the last 1/4 Century. God Bless his family.

86 posted on 12/19/2012 12:11:14 PM PST by Steelers6
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To: cotton1706

A great man, held back by leftist Lilliputians.

87 posted on 12/19/2012 12:13:58 PM PST by windsorknot
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To: Chickensoup

In the book, he said that the First Amendment should apply only to political speech, and that anything else should be subject to government regulation.

88 posted on 12/19/2012 12:26:12 PM PST by Coronal
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To: Coronal

In the book, he said that the First Amendment should apply only to political speech, and that anything else should be subject to government regulation.

Obviously I dont agree

89 posted on 12/19/2012 1:19:27 PM PST by Chickensoup (Leftist Totalitarian Fascism coming to a country like yours.)
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To: cotton1706
A great jurist and Solicitor General.

Absolutely. Of course he will be remembered by many the way liberals and the complicit liberal media portrayed him as they sought to destroy him. But those who are independent thinks know and remember him as a great man.

90 posted on 12/19/2012 1:34:25 PM PST by South40 ("Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance." - Barack Hussein Obama - Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009.)
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To: CORedneck

He wasn’t really run out of town; he could have stayed on the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia but chose to step down after the Democrat Senate (along with John Warner et al) voted him down for the Supreme Court. He could have still been on the Circuit Court had he so chosen.

91 posted on 12/19/2012 2:54:42 PM PST by Theodore R. ("Hey, the American people must all be crazy out there!")
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To: cotton1706
..Joe Biden continues after assisting in the destruction of Judge Bork and attempting to do so to Clarence Thomas--his day shall come.

Judge Bork: great jurist and great American. He did his best and then had to go--as America slouches toward Gomorrah...

92 posted on 12/19/2012 3:02:45 PM PST by WalterSkinner ( In Memory of My Father--WWII Vet and Patriot 1926-2007)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

“R.I.P., Judge Bork.

You will sadly always be the Poster Child for how the Left sets out to absolutely destroy good people through smear campaigns orchestrated by their fellow travelers in the mainstream media.”

The Left sets out to destroy and the GOP aids and abets by their lack of resolve. Bork never would have been “Borked” if not for a number of GOP weaklings. The caving of the 6 Republicans (John Chafee (R-RI), Bob Packwood (R-OR), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Robert Stafford (R-VT), John Warner (R-VA), and Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (R-CT) made it politically safe for a few Democrats from conservative states to also vote against Bork.

93 posted on 12/19/2012 3:23:32 PM PST by littleharbour
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To: IbJensen

It wasn’t just the Democrats. John Warner, then “R” senator from VA, voted against his confirmation after saying he would vote for confirmation.. I cannot remember ever being so livid about a political issue or vote in my life. Thereafter, I never voted for Warner but always wrote in “Robert Bork.”

When and if historians decide to study when and how politics became really ugly in the US, they need only look to the Bork nomination process.

94 posted on 12/19/2012 3:43:30 PM PST by EDINVA
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To: cotton1706

I always liked hin and have a couple of his books. I really believe that this nation is truly a lesser nation becuase it did not have Bork on the USSC. I believe I saw somewhere that he converted to Catholicism later in life. I’ll have to pick up his books and read them a little bit this weekend.

95 posted on 12/19/2012 4:01:36 PM PST by fkabuckeyesrule
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To: apillar

“Well it might be a bit of a stretch to see the bright side, but if he would have won confirmation way back then, Obama might be filling his vacancy today....”

Not at all. Had the Right Honorable Robert Bork been on the Court it would have heard the challenges to the Kenyan’s qualificiations and we’d have a different President entirely.

96 posted on 12/19/2012 4:04:54 PM PST by MeganC (Our forefathers would be shooting by now.)
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To: cotton1706

RIP, Mr. Bork. We should’ve had you on the Supreme Court instead of Anthony Kennedy.

97 posted on 12/19/2012 5:01:57 PM PST by ReformationFan
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To: PapaNew

‘Heaven’s gain, our loss.’


Absolutely. May his family find comfort, and may he rest with the angels.

I’m so sorry to hear of this. He was a brilliant man.

98 posted on 12/19/2012 5:55:06 PM PST by proud American in Canada (Pray for America.)
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To: BuckeyeTexan

Hi, Buckeye; please add me to your SCOTUS list.

I had the great joy to live in Texas for six months when I was in my twenties—the people there are so friendly! I loved it.

You have a wonderful state. :)

99 posted on 12/19/2012 5:58:28 PM PST by proud American in Canada (Pray for America.)
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To: cotton1706
It's been so long since I heard his name. he was a great man and very pro life if I remember. Liberals hated him so he must have been a saint( was off in the army so didn't remember much of the Reagan years except from afar).

It's your time to see the Great Judge on High your honor. Prayers for his family and friends down here as earth becomes hell, or the top circle anyway.

100 posted on 12/19/2012 6:14:02 PM PST by Karliner ( Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, Romans 8:38"...this is the end of the beginning."WC)
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