Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Luckily, We Fired HIM

Whenever a story appears involving the Supreme Court, somehow as if by magic, Robert Bork reappears under the inevitable headline, “Conservatives Still Smarting Over What They Perceive as Bork Injustice,” or some variation thereof, pertaining to the defeat of his nomination for the Supreme Court in 1987.

Putting aside the fact that it’s at best counterproductive and at worst a monumental waste of time to keep fighting battles that are over 18 years old, let’s consider the fact that, after the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee were sufficiently cowed by the resulting conservative backlash as a result of Bork’s defeat, the next candidate, Antonin Scalia, had a cakewalk, and he is at least as bad as Bork could have been. Worse, he will probably be the next chief justice, since Rehnquist will surely follow O’Connor’s path out the door now.

Also, regarding Judge Bork, let’s recall his role in the Watergate scandal for a moment (yes, he had one).

See, Nixon was getting mad at special prosecutor Archibald Cox because, well, gosh, it seemed the man was getting too close to the Oval Office during the course of his investigation (imagine that). I’ll let William Rivers Pitt provide the next bit of information.

…In Watergate, Congress did not commence impeachment proceedings to hold President Nixon accountable for his abuse of power until the American people demanded action after the Saturday Night Massacre (in which Nixon ordered the firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox to keep him from getting incriminating personal tape recordings).
And this information appears courtesy of CBS News (this is what happened):

When Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating the White House, refused a presidential order to make no further attempts to subpoena the Nixon tapes, President Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliott Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned as did his deputy, William Ruckleshaus.
I seem to recall that Nixon fired Ruckleshaus, but if CBS News said he resigned, then I’ll defer to them.

So guess who ended up firing Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox?

U.S. Solicitor General Robert H. Bork.

So, as far as I’m concerned, Bork put party loyalty above his duty to protect our government and the Constitution. That tells me all I need to know about his qualifications, now or ever, for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Also, Bork testified before Congress in 1987 that he did not believe there was such a thing as a constitutional right to privacy. Maybe not literally, but I would strenuously argue that such a thing exists in the spirit of the Constitution and in its implementation as the foundation of our government over lo these 229 years.

I would humbly ask that you keep this in mind the next time you hear Robert Bork pontificating about the importance of an “originalist” orientation for a Supreme Court justice.

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