Robert Bork, the former solicitor general and federal appeals court judge who died Wednesday, was a hero in many senses of the word, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial
In 1987, the Senate turned down Bork for a Supreme Court position in a landmark move, because he was shunned for his judicial philosophy and personal style rather than any qualms over his qualifications.
“The U.S. Senate has had many low, retrograde moments, but easily among the worst was its 1987 rejection of Robert Bork,” Journal editors write. He “contributed far more to American law than the 58 Senators who voted against him and more than most Supreme Court Justices.”
Despite the Senate rejection, Bork continued to play a major role in legal and political issues. He was a foremost defender of the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted based solely on its text and original meaning.
“He believed in judicial restraint in the tradition of Felix Frankfurter, among others, but by the time he was nominated the judicial left had decided the law was whatever liberals say it is,” the editorial states.
“This intellectual divide lives on in our law and at the current Supreme Court, with Justice Scalia perhaps closest in his views to Bork's jurisprudence.”
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