Skip to comments.Bork: 'Brilliant' Roberts the Best Conservatives Will Get
Posted on 09/07/2005 9:58:38 AM PDT by Ol' Sparky
Bork: 'Brilliant' Roberts the Best Conservatives Will Get
By Nathan Burchfiel
September 07, 2005
(CNSNews.com) - One-time Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork Tuesday lashed out at the high court and the U.S. Senate for politicizing the judiciary and offered little hope to conservatives hoping to see Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion, overturned.
Bork said the possibility is "virtually nil" that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned in the next 10 years, even with John Roberts presiding as chief justice and a more conservative jurist replacing Sandra Day O'Connor. "I simply do not know if [Roberts] would vote to overturn constitutional mistakes of the past," Bork said.
Bork was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 for a seat on the Supreme Court, but came under heavy political attack from Democrats, especially Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, and was ultimately rejected by the Senate 58 to 42. The campaign to ruin Bork's nomination eventually became a prototype for the political Left, resulting in the judge's name being used as a verb.
A political or judicial nominee who had been "borked" was someone who had been subjected to a scathing attack by special interest groups and many in the establishment media. Tuesday, Bork joked about having his own verb. "I don't mind it," he said. "It's a kind of immortality."
But Bork was less understanding when it came to analyzing the behavior of the Supreme Court. The high court, Bork said, "has made itself the most important branch of government. Today's hearings are political circuses and there may be no going back," he told his audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Roberts, President Bush's choice to replace the late William Rehnquist as chief justice of the Supreme Court, is well prepared for the post, Bork said. While praising Roberts for his "brilliant mind," Bork said he has "never heard [Roberts] say anything about judicial philosophy."
And that silence about judicial philosophy is the best decision Roberts could have made, Bork said, because it limits the political attacks against him. Bork's own outspoken judicial philosophy gave his political enemies many opportunities with which to attack him in 1987 and helped doom his nomination.
Speaking from that experience, Bork said potential Supreme Court nominees should never write or say anything about the court and never commit their vote on any issue in a Senate hearing.
"Senators now demand that nominees state positions," Bork said, "in an effort to make them state campaign promises." But he said the judicial branch shouldn't be politicized. The only way to fix the problem, he said, is to nominate and confirm judges who "will abide by the Constitutional principles" of the founding fathers.
Bork's political philosophy is characterized as constitutional originalism. He believes the Constitution should be interpreted "according to the principles the founders believed themselves to be enacting," not the way judges think the Constitution should work.
He added that conservatives should be happy with Roberts' nomination, in spite of the fact that the Bush nominee has not stated a position on hot button issues like abortion, affirmative action and homosexual marriage. "If they insist on a nominee who makes a campaign promise to them ... maybe he should not be confirmed," Bork said.
"They're not going to get any better nominees through," he added. However, Bork concluded that it would be "politically attractive" for the president to nominate a woman, possibly a minority, to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Roberts was originally nominated to replace O'Connor, but President Bush turned to Roberts for the position of chief justice following Rehnquist's death on Saturday. O'Connor will remain in her position as associate justice until a replacement is confirmed.
Bork suggested two justices from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia -- Judge Raymond Randolph and Judge Douglas Ginsberg. The latter was originally chosen by President Reagan to replace Bork as the nominee to the Supreme Court in 1987, but Ginsberg withdrew himself from consideration when it was revealed that he had used marijuana in the 1960s and 1970s.
That is almost certain to happen if conservatives don't let it be known that anything less than a proven originalist in the Scalia mold is nominated for the next court vacany. If conservatives are too apathetic or trust of Bush and the GOP, we deserve what we're going to get -- another generation of judicial tyranny.
I watched Bork last night and found him to be very enlightening.
To begin with he said the court is left on social issues, and that is because they like good press. He is saying the justices are thinking about what is written about them.
I think John Roberts will prove to be an excellent Chief and that Bush will nominate someone NOT nominated for a position this year (I'd still dream for John Ashcroft to be named, but Bush will probably choose a woman or a hispanic)
I really don't like the fact that Bush is now saying he is looking for someone to replace O'Connor. He has already nominated someone to replace O'Connor. He now needs to find someone to replace Rhenquist. The selection of a chief justice is a separate matter and Bush gave up huge ground by treating this openly as an "O'Connor" replacement. I'm now officially scared.
Sure she does.
With phrases like "undue burden" and "this clause should be void in 20 years", how can she not?
Her philosophy is neither activist like Stevens nor constitutionalist like Rehnquist. It's a position of judicial supremacy, attempting to wield as much influence as possible. Who defines an "undue burden"? She does! God knows how much she loved being the infamous "swing vote".
We know how you feel because it's practically the only thing you ever say.
Ha! You should come to Canada where every single appointee that sits on the supreme court is a political appointee by one person - the prime minister of Canada! How would you like to have to live under that scenario? Sheesh.
No need. I suspect it's because he's going to nominate a woman and he can say he replaced O'Connor with another woman. Given that there's some excellent women on his short list, I don't mind. I want Janice Rodgers Brown.
Praying to God in Trinity that you are right.
How would you like to have to live under that scenario?
::No thanks but the natural beauty up there might almost make up for it.
If the media wants a woman, I say let's give them what they want and send an appellant judge with 20 years of experience up to them to deal with -- Edith Jones.
I don't understand your reaction at all and I disagree that Bush gave up "huge ground". Bush is the cat with feathers sticking out of his mouth and the Senate dems are the frightened canaries.
Bush denied the dems an additional grandstanding hearing on the Chief Justice appointment and spared us all by making this brilliant move, IMO. Since SDO has said that she will wait to retire once her replacement is confirmed, its obvious that the most pressing replacement is for the one who is no longer with us.
Here's why: 1. Roberts already assembled the votes to be confirmed as Associate Justice (replacing O'Connor). That will not change as his is confirmed as Chief. 2. The Court will begin its 2005 Term on 3 October with a full complement of nine (O'Connor remains on the Court until her replacement is confirmed).
3. The Roberts choice eliminates one round of fights with the Democrats. (If Scalia had moved up, there would have been another nomination to replace Scalia.) 4. All of the conservative judges (and a few others) are now back in play to replace O'Connor on an orderly basis. 5. The Democrats will be unable to combine two nominations and argue them as a bunch about "balance on the Court." (Bush will probably wait until Roberts is confirmed to nominate a new replacement for O'Connor. This will force the nominations to be handled one at a time, regardless of the Democrat's hope to the contrary.)
Bottom line: As I said in two radio interviews on this subject, "Bush plays chess, when his opponents are playing checkers." He is several moves ahead of the Democrats on this, as on many other subjects.
It's no wonder Republicans have won elections for years and conservatives have virtually nothing to show for it.
So, how is this political masterstroke helping conservatives or changing the direction of the court?
It's a brilliant move to nominated two stealth, unproven justices to the bench when one of those retiring was a known originalist? The odds aren't very good of two stealth candidates ending being originalists.
I agree with you that Alberto Gonzales would be a poor choice. But I reject on the facts your assumption that Roberts is "a moderate like Alberto Gonzales."
It is self-evident that the appointment of Roberts will do nothing to "change the direction of the court." He is like the man he is replacing. The replacement of O'Connor by a conservative will amount to a half-a-Justice improvement, since half the time she defended the Constitution and half she sabotaged it. Not until we get to the replacement of Stevens or Ginsburg (both likely in Bush's term) will the direction change significantly.
I liked what Lincoln said about how the Senate are scoundrels if they ask, and the Nominee is a scoundrel if he answers.
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