Bork's Ideal Was Constitutional Interpretation That Minimized Politics

Article excerpt

In a Dec. 21 article, "The Bork I Knew: He Was Brilliant, But Far Right Even of Other Conservatives," David A. Harris decried Robert Bork's "original intent" view of constitutional interpretation, saying that it allowed "no flexibility for changed circumstances." He also said that several constitutional decisions on civil rights and privacy issues would have gone the other way had Bork's philosophy prevailed. The next day the PG's editorial said that Bork was rightly denied a Supreme Court position because of his "political leanings" ("Troubled Legacy," Dec. 22).

However, Bork's thesis as spelled out in his book "The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law" is that basing constitutional decisions on first principles rightly minimizes political considerations in judicial decisions. He explained why a deference to first principles need not be static and inflexible, and how the neglect of those principles leads to decisions that are based on nothing more than some verbal gymnastics and whatever the majority happens to think is desirable at the moment. …