Robert Bork, R.I.P. Conservatives Mourn the Passing of a Great Constitutional Scholar

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 20, 2012 | Go to article overview

Robert Bork, R.I.P. Conservatives Mourn the Passing of a Great Constitutional Scholar


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

America has lost one of its greatest legal thinkers. Robert H. Bork, a jurist, a teacher and a father, passed away Wednesday morning, but his ideas will live on.

Judge Bork is best known as the federal judge liberals most feared to see elevated to the Supreme Court. It was not because of his demeanor - Judge Bork was a kind and thoughtful man. It was not for any deficiency in intellect, as even his most committed opponents couldn't deny the power of his mind. Instead, the left brought to bear a then-unprecedented onslaught of personal invective in a coordinated campaign to deny the promotion President Reagan sought to give him a quarter-century ago.

As he always did, the Gipper knew how best to express the motivation behind the Democratic fight against Judge Bork's nomination: I can't help suspecting that it is the strength of Judge Bork's judicial analysis that has driven some to try to defeat the man after failing to defeat his ideas. It would be a sorry day for this country if fear of an idea well expressed were to deny the country the wisdom of that idea.

The left did succeed in keeping Judge Bork off the high-court bench, but in many ways this effort proved shortsighted. The controversy helped bring Judge Bork's ideas to a wider audience, and today the concepts of constitutional originalism that he helped refine are stronger than they have ever been. His newfound fame helped his books fly off the shelves, including Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, which outlines the intellectual underpinnings of the nation's moral decay and The Tempting of America, which explains how the Constitution has been abused at the hands of the judicial branch. …

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