WASHINGTON - President Reagan, saying ``reason will
prevail over politics,'' predicted Friday the Senate will confirm
his nomination of Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, resumed its hearings
with testimony from American Bar Association leaders who said Bork's
brand of judicial restraint is an attempt to ``disregard two
centuries of American history.''
The panel is concluding its second week of hearings with at
least one more week planned. The Supreme Court, with a vacancy
since the June retirement of Justice Lewis F. Powell, will begin its
new term Oct. 5 with eight members.
Reagan told a women's group that supports Bork, ``Now, I don't
usually make predictions ... but in this case, I feel confident that
reason will prevail over politics. Not only that Judge Bork will be
confirmed, but that he'll go down in history as one of the finest
Supreme Court justices our nation has ever had.''
The president accused Bork's attackers of being on the political
fringes, and he defended the nominee, a federal appeals court judge,
as dedicated to interpreting the Constitution rather than imposing
his own ideology on the nation.
Reagan said Bork's critics ``are themselves ideologically
inspired. And the criticism of him as outside the mainstream can
only be held by those who themselves are so far outside the
mainstream ... they've long ago lost sight of the moderate center.''
The president spoke in Crystal City, Va., to a convention of
more than 1,500 members of Concerned Women for America, which has
collected more than 72,000 signatures in support of Bork.
He said that Bork's nationally televised testimony last week
gave Americans a picture of ``a brilliant legal mind at work.''
However, public opinion polls this week showed the number of
Americans with an unfavorable opinion of Bork has risen at least
slightly since his appearance.
At the Judiciary Committee hearings on Friday, two past
presidents of the American Bar Association and a president of the
association's New York City chapter urged defeat of the nominee.
Former ABA president Robert Meserve of Boston said the senators
should judge Bork by his career-long writings and lectures, not just
by his more moderate testmony last week or his past five years on
the federal bench.
He said Bork, in seeking to follow the intent of the
Constitution's framers, ``would disregard two centuries of American