Robert Bork with former President Gerald Ford and former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (AP)
Borked, borking: First established in 1987. Defined as someone who got or is getting unjustly trampled by others, and it’s usually a conservative on the receiving end. Before the phrase “being thrown under the bus” came into our lexicon, “to bork” someone filled that role.
Judge Bork died earlier today (Dec 19) from heart disease, and it’s a sad day for me and a lot of others who care deeply about the US Constitution, the Founding Fathers, and the nation as a whole. Many have memories of Judge Bork far greater than mine, but nevertheless his shadow stretched over me as if I were sitting under an oak tree on a sunny summer day.
Oh how the nation, sadly for conservatives and, truth to be told, many of the left (who won’t admit it unless their house was on fire), continues the “slouch toward Gomorrah.”
I think Robert Bork was right all along.
In his 1996 book, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, he said that Western culture in general, and America in particular, was sliding ever more into decline primarily because of modern liberalism and the rise of the New Left. The Democratic Party of today is not the one of the past. That one got ran out of town a long time ago.
I watched and listened in 1987 as the ever smarmy Joe Biden and that model of truth and virtue, Ted Kennedy, rose in indignant anger that the President Reagan nominated Robert Bork, a Constitutionalist and Reagan-style conservative, that could have become a Supreme Court Justice. Senator Biden was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee that held the hearings on Judge Bork. What a sorry spectacle those hearings became, the likes not seen again until Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings four years later.
I also recall that old political convenience flip-flopper, Arlen Specter, closing out the Senate confirmation hearings on Judge Bork with some of the most vitriol nonsense ever heard until Joe Biden’s recent “they’re (Romney-Ryan) gonna put ya’all back in chains” pandering to a heavily attended African-American crowd at an Obama rally a couple months ago in Virginia.
Twenty-five years ago these three--Biden, Kennedy and Specter--played every dirty card pulled from inside their sleeves, plied the confirmation hearings and the news with underhanded accusations, pandered to the public with well-timed grimaces and eye rolls for the cameras, puffed up their chests in righteous indignation, told or “who me?” encouraged the telling of outrageous lies--whatever it took, they did.
They even got Atticus Finch to declare to the country, with his recognized voice of lawyerly “summation,” that Robert Bork (who was also a former US Marine JAG officer), was an “unreconstructed extremist.” A mockingbird died that day, it really did.
The Senate Democrats even trotted out that [10 years later publicly infamous] paragon of morality and integrity, then Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas, who was a former law school student of Judge Bork’s, to throw dispersions, innuendoes, and offer his “serious” opinion on Bork as a law professor back-in-the-day at Yale. Hypocrisy was at its best here, folks.
The Senate Judiciary Committee cast a potentially great Supreme Court Justice out for the sake of hugely skewed politics and insecure egos. They “borked” the nation, is what they really did.
Judge Bork went about his days from that day to today with total class. What a gentleman.
He wrote superb books and articles, gave enlightening seminars, and advised wherever asked.
He was a man of great charm, wit, wisdom, scholarly knowledge, and patience. I might not have agreed with every single position he took, but he always had my absolute respect and, yes, he would have made a terrific Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Robert Bork, May He Rest In Peace. Semper Fi.