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Robert Bork: 6 Facts About the Would-Be Supreme Court Justice
Posted By Patrick Kiger On December 19, 2012 @ 2:39 pm In Legacy | No Comments
Robert H. Bork, who died on Dec. 19 at age 85 in Arlington, Va., is most famous for what he didn’t do: sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated Bork, a former solicitor general in the Nixon administration and a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to replace Justice Lewis Powell on the nation’s highest court. The announcement promptly triggered a firestorm of opposition, and Bork’s bruising five-day-long nomination hearing in the Senate became a televised spectacle. Supporters saw him as a faithful adherent to the original intent of the U.S. Constitution’s framers, while opponents – including the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) – saw him as a zealot who would roll back individual and civil rights.
Ultimately, Bork’s nomination was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee and by the full Senate. In a 1990 memoir, Bork blamed his defeat upon politics, writing that Democrats saw it as a way to strike a blow against a president whose power had been weakened by the Iran-contra scandal, and that “I was a symbol they needed to destroy.” Indeed, New York Times legal correspondent Stuart Taylor presciently observed at the time that the battle over Bork forever changed the confirmation process itself, turning it into a bruising gantlet.
Here are six intriguing facts about the man who didn’t make it to the Court:
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