Robert Bork: Requiescat in Pace

 

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If the Constitution is law, then presumably its meaning, like that of all other law, is the meaning the lawmakers were understood to have intended.  If the Constitution is law, then presumably, like all other law, the meaning the lawmakers intended is as binding upon judges as it is upon legislatures and executives.  There is no other sense in which the Constitution can be what article VI proclaims it to be: “Law….” This means, of course, that a judge, no matter on what court he sits, may never create new
constitutional rights or destroy old ones.  Any time he does so, he violates not
only the limits to his own authority but, and for that reason, also violates the
rights of the legislature and the people….the philosophy of original
understanding is thus a necessary inference from the structure of government apparent on the face of the Constitution.

Robert Bork

 

Robert Bork, one of the titans of American Law, has died.  The foremost expert on anti-trust,  and a champion of originalism in regard to the Constitution, Bork was appointed by President Reagan to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  In 1987 he was nominated by Reagan for the Supreme Court.  In a campaign of lies and personal vilification spearheaded, fittingly enough, by Senator Edward M. Kennedy his nomination was defeated.  If he had been confirmed, Roe v. Wade would now be merely a bitter memory. 

After he was defeated he wrote many books and articles on the law and cogent analysis of the American contemporary scene.  His Slouching Towards Gomorrah was an on target look at how moral decay leads inevitably to political and legal decay.  He converted to Catholicism in 2003.  Go here to read all about it. In a time of intellectual laziness and moral collapse Bork was a throwback to better days of intellectual rigor and absolute integrity.  He was an honest and upright Judge and a good man and we are poorer for his loss.  May he now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.

4 Responses to Robert Bork: Requiescat in Pace

  • Paul Zummo says:

    In 1987 he was nominated by Reagan for the Supreme Court. In a campaign of lies and personal vilification spearheaded, fittingly enough, by Senator Edward M. Kennedy his nomination was defeated.

    And left-wing Catholics, who still lionize Kennedy while carping about the GOP doing nothing about abortion, will fail to appreciate why they aren’t taken seriously.

  • JDP says:

    i think part of the problem the originalist case encounters is that a lot of Americans, not just liberals, think that if something is considered an injustice (large or small) but isn’t being democratically overturned, the Supreme Court has some kind of duty to expedite that.

    plus people talk about checking the “tyranny of the majority” as if that’s the main function of the courts, as opposed to just one function.

  • T. Shaw says:

    May he rest in peace.

    From today’s WSJ: “The Wisdom of Robert Bork.”

    “. . . the Warren Court, was the redistribution of society’s wealth, prestige and political power. […] routinely voted against business litigants whatever the legal context. . . . even those who approve, . . . conclude that Justice Douglas’s politics were also his law.”

    On activist judges: “That activism prevails in those courts, even though . . . elected judges, suggests either . . . public is ill-informed about the shift in power from democratic institutions to authoritarian bodies or . . . general weariness with democracy and the endless struggles it entails.”

    “Their Will Be Done,” July 5, 2005

    “Once the justices depart . . . from the original understanding of the principles of the Constitution, they lack any guidance other than their own attempts at moral philosophy, a task for which they have not even minimal skills. Yet when it rules in the name of the Constitution, whether it rules truly or not, the Court is the most powerful branch of government in domestic policy. The combination of absolute power, disdain for the historic Constitution, and philosophical incompetence is lethal.

    “The Court’s philosophy reflects, or rather embodies and advances, the liberationist spirit of our times. In moral matters, each man is a separate sovereignty. In its insistence on radical personal autonomy, the Court assaults what remains of our stock of common moral beliefs. That is all the more insidious because the public and the media take these spurious constitutional rulings as not merely legal conclusions but moral teachings supposedly incarnate in our most sacred civic document.”

    Robert Bork will not suffer the evil times that are “in the offing.”

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