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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: fatnotlazy
If Judge Bork had been there in 1991, instead of Reagan's Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor, Roe would have been overturned.
51 posted on 12/19/2012 7:46:48 AM PST by Theodore R. ("Hey, the American people must all be crazy out there!")
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To: windcliff; stylecouncilor; raven92876

RIP Robert Bork.


52 posted on 12/19/2012 7:50:19 AM PST by onedoug
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To: cotton1706
As a young teenager I knocked on doors with the YAF for Barry Goldwater. I have been a conservative all my life.

I did not become an activist and really get motivated until the Reagan era. We finally had a man to talk-the-talk. With the nomination of Bork, we saw the opportunity to have a Jurist enshrine the legal understanding of our Constitution and provide a sea change to our direction at the Judicial branch.

His “borking” was the vivid example of the leftist full control of the Democrat Party agenda and its total orientation against the Republic and all its structure.

I hope our legal scholars chime in and I am going to try and listen to Mark Levin tonight who should have a lot to say as I am sure RB was an influence on his younger years.

53 posted on 12/19/2012 7:51:26 AM PST by KC Burke (Plain Conservative opinions and common sense correction for thirteen years. RSC)
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To: cotton1706

R.I.P. Judge Bork.


54 posted on 12/19/2012 7:57:32 AM PST by rfp1234 (Arguing with a liberal is like playing chess with a pigeon.)
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To: AU72

“Thanks to Ted Kennedy and his ilk, the country was denied a great jurist on the Supreme Court.”

More correctly:
Thanks to Ted Kennedy and his ilk, the country was denied the future that it was entitled to.

Sorry I gave him a ride to NYC once (even if it was in the coach behind the engine...)


55 posted on 12/19/2012 7:59:56 AM PST by Road Glide
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To: cotton1706
The Silver Lining?

Justice Bork will no longer have to see the continued destruction of this once-great nation.

But let us not whitewash Bork in his death: He was also a gungrabber.

Bork has denounced what he calls the "NRA view" of the Second Amendment, something he describes as the "belief that the constitution guarantees a right to Teflon-coated bullets." Instead, he has argued that the Second Amendment merely guarantees a right to participate in a government militia.[34]

56 posted on 12/19/2012 8:05:16 AM PST by Lazamataz (LAZ'S LAW: As an argument with liberals goes on, the probability of being called racist approaches 1)
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To: massgopguy
RIP, Judge Bork. The real case against Bork was The Saturday Night Massacre.

I don't know what kind of lies Ted Kennedy spread in Massachusetts about Judge Bork's role in the Saturday Night Massacre, but in 1987, then-Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, and his then-Deputy AG, Bill Ruckelshaus told me the real story. When Nixon fired Archibold Cox, all THREE top political appointees in the Justice Department at the time--Richardson, Ruckelshaus, AND Bork (Solicitor General)--but Richardson and Ruckelshaus told Bork to "hold the bag," because all three thought they if they resigned at the same time, they'd put the Justice Department's highest-ranking position in the hands of a career diplomat, thereby creating what they feared would be a "constitutional crisis." Accordingly, while Richardson and Ruckelshaus hogged the "glory" and "fame" of resigning in protest, they left Bork to run the Justice Department, and to suffer Ted Kennedy's--and others'--lies.

57 posted on 12/19/2012 8:06:10 AM PST by CDB (Time for the "New Media" to write: "All the 'President's' Men: the Sequel--Benghazi-Gate)
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To: chrisser

I really liked him and a real shame he was run out of town on a rail. I went to see him speak one time in the early 1990’s at Franklin College near Indy. He was very interesting and hilarious, opposite of what the LSM tried to project of him.


58 posted on 12/19/2012 8:06:58 AM PST by CORedneck
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To: cotton1706
Read Bork's book Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and America's Decline (New York: Regan, 1996) to find out how we got where we are today.
59 posted on 12/19/2012 8:07:53 AM PST by Fiji Hill (Io Triumphe!)
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To: cotton1706

RIP Mr. Bork

More like you and we might still have a Republic.

60 posted on 12/19/2012 8:14:47 AM PST by tomkat (liberty or death)
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To: CDB

There would never have been a “Saturday Night Massacre” if only Nixon had not forced Richard Kleindienst to resign as Attorney General. Kleindienst, a Goldwater man, would never have hired Archibald Cox, a Kennedy man, to investigate the Nixon administration.


61 posted on 12/19/2012 8:15:05 AM PST by Fiji Hill (Io Triumphe!)
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To: cotton1706

A great man who would have made an excellent attorney general had he not been treated with gross and insulting behavior by the likes of the lousy DemocRAT congress!

Rest In Peace, Judge Bork.

Rot in hell you evil detractors!

God Save America from Bronco Bama and his legions of evil, God-less communists.


62 posted on 12/19/2012 8:22:14 AM PST by IbJensen (Liberals are like Slinkies, good for nothing, but you smile as you push them down the stairs.)
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To: cotton1706

May the choirs of angels come to greet you.
May they speed you to paradise.
May the Lord enfold you in his mercy.
May you find eternal life.


63 posted on 12/19/2012 8:25:59 AM PST by mc5cents
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To: cotton1706

Yes, a great human being has left our world. God bless Robert H. Bork.


64 posted on 12/19/2012 8:27:18 AM PST by Flavious_Maximus
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To: albie

Except for FOX, the media will not even be “balanced” in their non-memorial memorial: they will dutifully report the
“controversial” nomination for the Supreme Court (made only controversial by the trail-blazing psychotic Ted Kennedy) and leave it at that. Since Kennedy has already been anointed as A Great Dead Man, Bork will be mis-remembered by the Low-Information Viewer the only way he can be, as a quaint casualty of an earlier period, when the Left was beginning to find its voice , the voice of over-the-top Demagoguery.


65 posted on 12/19/2012 8:29:14 AM PST by supremedoctrine
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To: cotton1706
Since you knew him personally, I'm interested in your further comments about Judge Bork. Please ping me if you can.

I often lament about the "what ifs", "if only" he had become a SCOTUS judge. What a pleasure it would have been to have read his decisions and opinions. They would have been legendary and strong precedent. Very likely, he might also have been the swing vote in making landmark decisions overruling previous unconstitutional precedent-breaking decisions by previous a left-dominated SCOTUS. (Historically, it appears the most egregious departures for the Constitution have come from a leftist SCOTUS majority.)

His example would almost certainly have been one against "judicial activism" either on the right or the left. What a pleasure it would have been to see how he would have applied the ORIGINAL UNDERSTANDING AND INTENT of the Constitution to a case either in writing for the majority, in concurrence, or in dissent.

I wish people like Bork, Reagan, and Milton Friedman would live forever, because our country and world need these wonderful men so desperately. Heaven's gain, our loss.

66 posted on 12/19/2012 8:31:04 AM PST by PapaNew
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To: PapaNew

I didn’t know him personally. I saw the article and posted it.


67 posted on 12/19/2012 8:33:51 AM PST by cotton1706
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To: albie

He was a great jurist. One of the greatest in American history. It’s a shame we didn’t have his towering intellect on the US Supreme Court.

I have been watching Faux News now for over an hour. Not one mention of this conservative giant. For all intents and purposes Faux has turned into just another liberal news channel.


68 posted on 12/19/2012 8:41:02 AM PST by NKP_Vet
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To: Lazamataz
Bork...has argued that the Second Amendment merely guarantees a right to participate in a government militia.

I don't know if this was early in his career or later, but, to me, his reasoning was more important than his conclusions. His approach, which should be followed by all judges, especially federal judges, was to put his own personal values and biases aside and faithfully apply the original understanding and intent of the law (in this case, the Constitution) as best as possible. That's the best anyone can do. It doesn't guarantee perfect results, but nothing is prefect and this faithful methodology is the truest and most integrated judicial approach there is to Constitutional law.

69 posted on 12/19/2012 8:46:25 AM PST by PapaNew
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To: NKP_Vet

Strange...the first report I heard of this was on Fox News this morning.


70 posted on 12/19/2012 8:48:44 AM PST by RGVTx
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To: cotton1706

He would have made a heck of a Supreme Court justice.


71 posted on 12/19/2012 8:49:01 AM PST by OrangeHoof (Our economy won't heal until one particular black man is unemployed.)
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To: cotton1706
Laughing in Heaven at Kennedy in Hell.
72 posted on 12/19/2012 8:51:10 AM PST by Happy Rain (Which fires first? The gun or the 2nd Amendment haters?)
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To: cotton1706; Lurking Libertarian; JDW11235; Clairity; TheOldLady; Spacetrucker; Art in Idaho; ...
Honorary SCOTUS ping.

FReepmail me to subscribe to or unsubscribe from the SCOTUS ping list.

73 posted on 12/19/2012 8:53:00 AM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind.)
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To: cotton1706

Just saw this posted. Just damn.

Thank you, Your Honor.


74 posted on 12/19/2012 8:53:34 AM PST by Old Sarge (We are officially over the precipice, we just havent struck the ground yet...)
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To: RGVTx

Fox has not mentioned his passing and I have been watching for well over an hour. They have mentioned the “marine” whose under arrest in Mexico over a rifle. They keep showing him in his military uniform and saying “marine corporal this, marine corporal that”. The man is not a marine. He is a marine veteran, but for some strange reason Fox likes to pretend that no one ever gets out of the military when they go in.


75 posted on 12/19/2012 8:57:10 AM PST by NKP_Vet
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To: cotton1706

RIP, Judge Bork. Thank you for your love of America and your unfailing defense of her Constitution.


76 posted on 12/19/2012 9:16:39 AM PST by ScottinVA (I've never been more disgusted with American voters.I am)
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To: cotton1706

May the Bork be with you.. He was a good man regardless liebrals insane attempts to smear him, he saw thru them like a Harry Reid budget proposal.. there was nothing there.

RIP Judge Bork


77 posted on 12/19/2012 9:29:08 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: cotton1706

A loss of a great and honorable man.
RIP Judge.


78 posted on 12/19/2012 9:44:07 AM PST by RedMDer (Please support Toys for Tots this CHRISTmas season.)
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To: BuckeyeTexan
I often lament about the "what ifs", "if only" he had become a SCOTUS judge. What a pleasure it would have been to have read his decisions and opinions. They would have been legendary and strong precedent. Very likely, he might also have been the swing vote in making landmark decisions overruling previous unconstitutional precedent-breaking decisions by a previous left-dominated SCOTUS. (Historically, it appears the most egregious departures from the Constitution have come from a leftist SCOTUS majority.)

His approach, which should be followed by all judges, especially federal judges, was to put his own personal values and biases (the basis for “judicial activism”) aside and faithfully apply the original understanding and intent of the law (in this case, the Constitution) as best as possible. That's the best anyone can do. It doesn't guarantee perfect results, but nothing is prefect and this faithful methodology is the truest and most integrated judicial approach there is to Constitutional law.

His example would almost certainly have been one against "judicial activism" either on the right or the left. What a pleasure it would have been to see how he would have applied the Constitution to a case either in writing for the majority, in concurrence, or in dissent.

I wish people like Bork, Reagan, and Milton Friedman would live forever, because our country and world need these wonderful men so desperately. Heaven's gain, our loss.

79 posted on 12/19/2012 9:46:39 AM PST by PapaNew
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To: cotton1706

RIP. Another victim of the leftist-hate America smear machine.


80 posted on 12/19/2012 9:51:47 AM PST by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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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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