Bork and his adversaries

by Walter Olson on December 20, 2012

I’m in today’s New York Post with an op-ed about how, agree or disagree with Bork’s views, you can’t defend many of the tactics used against him in 1987. Earlier here (& welcome Nick Gillespie/Reason, Andrew Sullivan, Stephen Bainbridge, Reihan Salam, Tom Smith, Pejman Yousefzadeh, Jonathan Adler/Volokh, Memeorandum readers).

More: David Frum recalls a very funny Bork law exam. Ramesh Ponnuru defends Bork’s famous “inkblot” comment as reasonable in its context. Much more on that question from Randy Barnett. Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen casts a vote against. At Secular Right, I add another observation or two about Bork’s religious views. Via Andrew Grossman, a clip on the beard issue.

Yet more: Richard Epstein at Ricochet. Meanwhile, some commentators have taken the line that uncivil or not, the actual charges by Kennedy and others against Bork were accurate enough. Mickey Kaus, who is sympathetic to judicial restraint but less so to Bork, links to a 1989 New Republic review in which he shed light on that:

True, paranoia on Bork’s part is amply justified. There is a liberal legal culture, and it was out to get him. … And it got him, in part, by sleazily misrepresenting some of his views. Most famously, a narrow Bork ruling was falsely characterized as favoring “sterilizing workers.” But there were other nasty distortions, not all by fringe interest groups. Senator Edward Kennedy charged that in “Bork’s America… schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution,” when Bork had never opposed teaching evolution. Senator Paul Simon implied Bork might approve the pro-slavery decision in Dred Scott.

{ 1 trackback }

PointOfLaw Forum
12.23.12 at 10:15 am

{ 3 comments }

1 William Nuesslein 12.20.12 at 8:02 am

I remember Judge Bork claiming that Griswold was unnecessary because prosecutors of archaic and ridiculous laws would be voted out of office. Then came the Virginia case against sportscaster Marv Albert. His violation of a sodomy act with a consenting woman was used for leverage against him.

I understand that Judge Bork was a better driver than Senator Kennedy.

2 Anonymous Attorney 12.20.12 at 2:19 pm

I met Bork once at a Ted Olson gathering for Federalist Society students. He was sitting in a sun room with a copy of “Beowulf”, flipping through it and not paying attention to anyone. I nervously approached and offered that one of my professors clerked for him, thinking it might be a conversation starter. He just growled that yes, he remembered the clerk/professor. The conversation ended there.

3 Bill Poser 12.21.12 at 2:59 pm

Whatever happened with Bork’s lawsuit against Yale, I think it was, for injuries sustained when he slipped and fell on ascending the podium to give a speech? At the time, there was much criticism of him for engaging in what was seen as kind of abuse typical of the personal injury bar of which he was critical.

Comments on this entry are closed.