Supreme Court Appointments: Judge Bork and the Politicization of Senate Confirmations

By Norman Vieira; Leonard Gross | Go to book overview

13
OTHER WITNESSES

An unprecedented number of witnesses testified at the Bork hearings. Bork's own testimony had taken thirty hours over a five-day period. The testimony of other witnesses consumed fifty-seven hours over an eightday period. In all, 112 witnesses testified. There were an equal number of witness panels supporting and opposing Bork's confirmation. But even this appearance of parity worked against Bork. In a typical confirmation hearing, most of the testimony is favorable to the nominee. The very fact that half of the panels testified in opposition to Bork suggested that this nomination was highly controversial and that it was somehow different from nearly all the ones preceding it.

The selection of witnesses was also revealing. The procedure was for the Democratic majority to select its witnesses and for the Republican minority to do the same. Both sides chose speakers who were thought to be good advocates and who would not be identified as representatives of "special interests." Accordingly, a large number of the witnesses selected to testify were law professors or other members of the legal profession. Noticeably absent were representatives of groups like NOW, the NAACP, and organized labor. This chapter sets forth some of the highlights of the testimony of those witnesses.


VOICES FROM THE MINORITY COMMUNITY

The first witness to testify after Judge Bork and the ABA representatives was William T. Coleman, former secretary of transportation for President Ford and now a prominent Los Angeles attorney, who testified against Bork's confirmation. The fact that Coleman, a black Republican and a Reagan supporter, would testify against Bork was significant be

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