Robert Bork Still Wrong For America (Maybe Mitt Romney Can Re-Use Gordon Liddy Too)
Just last night I was reading the portion of Watergate by Thomas Mallon where Robert Bork fires the special prosecutor, Arhibald Cox. The Saturday Night Massacre is still one of the most riveting weekends of President Nixon’s time in office.
This morning I read in The New York Times the following about Bork, one of the most irksome conservatives in the nation.
Now Mitt Romney has made Mr. Bork a chairman of his Justice Advisory Committee. As with other Republicans leaders, Mr. Bork’s central position in Mr. Romney’s legal team says a great deal about the presumptive presidential nominee’s approach to the law, none of it good.
The right wing has always claimed Mr. Bork’s defeat was entirely partisan. In fact, it has made a verb out of his confirmation battle. To be borked is to be destroyed by whatever means it takes, and his confirmation struggle was, therefore, not about the substance of his legal views.
In fact, the confirmation shed considerable light on Mr. Bork’s extreme views. As a critic of what he called the “imperial judiciary,” he contended that, except when the Constitution expressly says otherwise, the court must defer to the will of the majority. Otherwise, he said, it makes “corrupt constitutional law” that is constrained only by the personal values of justices, leaving government subject to the “tyranny of the minority.”
That led Mr. Bork to be on the wrong side of many settled legal issues: he opposed broad protection for free speech; he questioned the constitutional right to privacy; he once opposed integration of public accommodations by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, calling it “unsurpassed ugliness.” Even after a confirmation conversion, his views on civil rights were decidedly unfavorable to minorities.