We learned this morning that Robert H. Bork died. But the era that he ushered in lives on.
It’s sad to remember a man for his most notable failure instead of his accomplishments. Somewhere, Bill Buckner just nodded in agreement. Bork was a U.S. Solicitor General, an accomplished scholar, and of course, a rejected nominee for the Supreme Court.
Bork was an originalist, a crazy, rabid conservative who hated the Warren Court and saw no constitutional problem with forcing me to drink from a separate water fountain — so long as my water fountain was just as good as the white one. For the kids out there, let me tell you that while crazy originalists have come to dominate conservative legal thought, back in 1987, Bork’s views were pretty controversial.
As Solicitor General under Richard Nixon, Bork participated in the “Saturday Night Massacre” (which didn’t sound like such hyperbole back in a time before mass shootings were a regular thing).
During the confirmation process, Bork was candid about his views and opinions. Democrats erected a wall of opposition against him. His nomination was defeated 58 – 42.
Defeating the Bork nomination was probably the worst thing that has happened to the Supreme Court in living memory….