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Robert Bork, RIP

Fox News is reporting that former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork passed away this morning at the age of 85. He really leaves two legacies — one of his creation, and one not.

The first is his status as one of the leading lights of a conservative legal movement that began developing a coherent voice thanks to his generation of scholars and jurists.

The second, of course, is the legacy of his (non)confirmation process itself, which marked the beginning of a transition towards a much more partisan, contentious style when it came to confirming Supreme Court nominees.

Leave us your thoughts and remembrances in the comments.

  1. Whiskey Sam

    The nation is worse off for not having had Bork on the Supreme Court.  RIP

  2. Pseudodionysius

    Per Hadley Arkes, he and Antonin Scalia are wrong on natural law, but I admired his force of intellect and steadfastness in adversity, and was happy to see his conversion to the Catholic Church in Washington several years ago. May he rest in peace.

  3. Denver Gentleman

    The Federalist Society has a 12 min tribute video to Bork. I suggest it to anyone who wants to learn more about this legal lion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvd33008nYE&feature=youtu.be

  4. Rob Long
    C

    Wow.  What a loss.  I only met him once, and he was shrouded in cigarette smoke, and despite being friendly and open, he still somehow made me feel like an idiot.  That’s how smart he was: he emanated intelligence.

  5. Shawn Downey

    The injustice of his “borking” was a memorable moment in my early conservative life.  I was in university at the time and my opposition to his detractors formed a lasting battle line in my interaction with classmates, tutorial assistants and even professors.   I’ll always remember Judge Bork’s grace in the face of his critics.

  6. Last Outpost on the Right

    Judge Bork was the first Supreme Court nominee I had ever heard of. I hadn’t paid any attention to the nomination process before that, and I don’t know that most others did either. We (conservatives) were caught off-guard by the sheer politicization of the process, and to a large extent we’ve never recovered.

    His was a terrific mind, and his eloquence was beyond compare.

    Jose.

  7. Skyler

    I’m sure he was a man who was good to his wife and family, and they will rightfully miss him.

    But that anyone could support his calls for infringement of free speech and other unamerican concepts leads me to think that he was less intelligent than many claim here.  I don’t understand how he became so popular among any style of American, let alone those who claim to prefer a limit to federal power.

  8. Miffed White Male

    I met him at the NR Institute conference in Washington DC in 1993 and had my picture taken with him.  I was living and working in Madion WI at the time and I kept a copy on my desk just to irritate a few of my co-workers.

  9. De_Maistre

    Watching an old video of his confirmation and reading some of his works in college largely inspired me to attend law school. I’m feeling a big loss today.

  10. Colin B Lane

    Be careful with that word “emanate,” Rob. Sounds awfully close to a “penumbra,” which would be deeply disrespectful to this great man.

  11. Salamandyr
    He has always impressed me as a man of honesty and forthrightness.  It is not important that he always be right, but that his contribution add to the conversation.  He was always a valuable voice. I guess his greatest contribution to my personal life consisted of his essay on the proper preparation and appreciation of martinis.  His recipe (found in the link below) is one that gives me great pleasure to this day.  I take delight in using it to instruct wayward bartenders in its proper construction. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/176729/judge-bork-martinis/kathryn-jean-lopez
  12. Fricosis Guy

    The first thought that came to mind when I heard of Judge Bork’s passing?  Prof. Epstein’s recent Law Talk lament about how litigators have come to dominate the federal bench.  The Bork hearings and their aftermath triggered the trend.

  13. tabula rasa

    Bork was a truly great man.

    The Senate’s rejection of him is one of the most shameful acts of an increasingly debased institution.  

    Senator Kennedy, whom the media has pronounced to be the “Lion of the Senate,” demonstrated, though his despicable speech about Robert Bork, that his highest aspiration is that of rat.  Bork was the lion.

  14. shelby_forthright
    Skyler: I’m sure he was a man who was good to his wife and family, and they will rightfully miss him.

    But that anyone could support his calls for infringement of free speech and other unamerican concepts leads me to think that he was less intelligent than many claim here.  I don’t understand how he became so popular among any style of American, let alone those who claim to prefer a limit to federal power. · 3 hours ago

    What a graceless comment but perfectly consistent with the kind of criticism Judge Bork received while he was alive. Which is to say, in that way, he was all too American. Throughout our history our politics have seen no shortage of character assassination.

    Rest in peace, Judge Bork.

  15. Denver Gentleman

    Here’s the headline the scum over at Gawker put together: “Robert Bork was a Terrible Human Being and No One Should Grieve His Passing.” I will consider my life to have been a smashing success if odious lefty rags celebrate my death.

  16. Cornelius Julius Sebastian

    Our nation, and especially the bar, is poorer for his loss.  Rest in peace, good sir.

  17. Skyler
    shelby_forthright

    What a graceless comment but perfectly consistent with the kind of criticism Judge Bork received while he was alive. Which is to say, in that way, he was all too American. Throughout our history our politics have seen no shortage of character assassination.

    Rest in peace, Judge Bork. · 1 hour ago

    Character assassination?  I don’t keep a running list of the horrendous things he’s claimed, but the one that I do recall specifically was his insistence that free speech was exercised too freely in our country and the government ought to do more to curtail it.  I don’t remember the context, but that horrified me to realize that he was nearly on the Supreme Court.  He said many other things that I just can’t believe anyone who values our freedoms and our limited government could say.  

    Like I said, I’m sure he was personally a nice man, but I won’t stand by and let a hagiography be developed for him among a group that should have nothing to do with him.

  18. Denver Gentleman
    Skyler

    …that horrified me to realize that he was nearly on the Supreme Court.  He said many other things that I just can’t believe anyone who values our freedoms and our limited government could say. 

    Like I said, I’m sure he was personally a nice man, but I won’t stand by and let a hagiography be developed for him among a group that should have nothing to do with him. · 39 minutes ago

    St. Bork? I’d go for that. If the group to which you refer is Ricochet, I would remind you that there are conservatives and libertarians of all stripes that make up this community. Alito was the lone justice to insist that the right to make animal snuff films is not one guaranteed by the US Constitution. Are you “horrified” that he sits on the Supreme Court? Bork, like Alito, was an originalist, and in my opinion it discredits the founders to claim that the protection of pornography, snuff films, and other filth was what they intended when drafting the 1st Amendment. Why not let the States decide for themselves? Or does a uniform national policy fit better with your version of limited government?

  19. Denver Gentleman

    Excellent tribute over at NRO by Federalist Society Big-Wigs and others: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336115/remembering-judge-bork-nro-symposium

    “For Joe Biden and the cast of characters who debased themselves during the hearings over Robert Bork, the victory they scored turned out to be the gift that never stops giving. The world of law that threatens us now is the world they shaped.”

    -Hadley Arkes (one of my favorite people).

  20. De_Maistre
    Denver Gentleman

     Bork, like Alito, was an originalist, and in my opinion it discredits the founders to claim that the protection of pornography, snuff films, and other filth was what they intended when drafting the 1st Amendment. Why not let the States decide for themselves? Or does a uniform national policy fit better with your version of limited government? · 3 hours ago

    Exactly. I mean, the First Amendment has traditionally had exceptions or reduced protections for things like slander, libel, incitement, indecency, and obscenity. It’s not as though Bork pulled it out of whole cloth.