Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee: The Constitution and the savage attack that made his name a verb.
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Bork had been considered at the time, but it was Scalia who got the nod — and as it turned out it was Scalia who was approved easily yet became for the left exactly what they feared in Bork. A Supreme Court Justice of fearsome intelligence and devoted to “originalism” — interpreting the Constitution as written, not as the Justice’s personal politics may dictate.
At the close of The Tempting of America, to illustrate his concern about the politicization of the law, Judge Bork used lines from Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons. The story of the British Lord Chancellor Thomas More, executed by King Henry VIII for his loyalty to Papal Authority.
The lines come from a dialogue between More and his son-in-law Roper, who was urging More to arrest a man seen as evil because the man had broken God’s law — although not English law.
When Roper insisted “there is God’s law” to be considered, More replied:
“Then God can arrest him…. The law, Roper, the law. I know what’s legal not what’s right. And I’ll stick to what’s legal… I’m not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can’t navigate. I’m no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh, there I’m a forester.”
Roper, wrote Bork, “would not be appeased and he leveled the charge that Moore would give the Devil the benefit of law.” Then Bork quotes the following lines:
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? …This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down… d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?… Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of the law, for my own safety’s sake.
Bork concluded by saying of giving anyone the benefit of the law — specifically the Constitution:
It is a hard saying and a hard duty, but it is the duty we must demand of judges.
And so it is.
As America bids farewell to Robert Bork — a good man of great decency and class, a man with a brilliant legal mind and the ability to make his case — it is finally time to rewrite Ted Kennedy’s famous speech. To say, simply:
“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which the law is the Constitution of the United States.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online