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Robert Bork, R.I.P.

Robert Bork, R.I.P.

Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.

Robert Bork has died.

Roger Kimball (via Instapundit), has a good summary of Bork’s importance, which unfortunately ended up being not his scholarship but the vicious attacks by people like Ted Kennedy which gave rise to the modern left-wing smear machine:

Judge Robert H. Bork, one of the the greatest jurists this country has ever produced, died early this morning from heart complications in a Virginia hospital near his home. He was 84.

Bork was a national celebrity. Several years ago, my wife and I visited the Borks in Maine where they had taken a summer house off Somes Sound. I cannot count the times that total strangers would approach us at a lobster shack or park asking to shake the Judge’s hand and to assure him of their admiration and support.

Bork’s celebrity was only partly conferred upon him by brilliant legal work and his service as Solicitor General and then Acting Attorney General in the tumultuous Watergate years of the Nixon administration. (Andrew McCarthy wrote an excellent summary of Judge Bork’s work in The New Criterion a few years ago: “Robert H. Bork on Law and Life.”) But by far the most important fuel for fame was the riveting, not to say obscene, attack upon his candidacy for the Supreme Court in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan.

The vicious campaign waged against Judge Bork set a new low—possibly never exceeded—in the exhibition of unbridled leftist venom, indeed hate. Reporters combed through the Borks trash hoping to find comprising tidbits; they inspected his movie rentals, and were disgusted to find the films of John Wayne liberally represented. So hysterical was the campaign against Judge Bork that a new transitive verb entered our political vocabulary: “To Bork,” scruple at nothing in order to discredit and defeat a political figure. Monsieur Guillotine gave his name to that means of execution; “progressives,” those leftists haters of America who have so disfigured our national life since the 1960s, gave us the this new form of character assassination. The so-called “Lion of the Senate,” Ted Kennedy, surely one of the most despicable men ever to hold high public office in the United States (yes, that’s saying something), stood on the Senate floor and emitted a serious of calumnious lies designed not simply to prevent Judge Bork from being appointed to the Supreme Court but to soil his character irretrievably. “Robert Bork’s America,” [waj adds, video here] quoth Kennedy,

is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit down at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of democracy.

A breathtaking congeries of falsehoods that, were they not protected by the prerogatives of senatorial privilege, would have taken a conspicuous place in the annals of malicious slander and character assassination.

I wrote about this a little over a year ago, 24 years ago today, Borking was born

Was there ever a more obscene spectacle on the floor of the Senate than to see Ted Kennedy, who left a girl to die and used his family name and political power to escape punishment, rip into Robert Bork?

It’s unfortunate that Borking will be what people most remember about Robert Bork, while Mary Jo Kopechne is at most a footnote all but written out of existence from the history of the Lion of the Senate.

Update — A tribute (h/t Hot Air):


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9thDistrictNeighbor | December 19, 2012 at 10:20 am

This is a real loss of a profound intellect.

Mary Jo was waiting for him…”well done, good and faithful servant.”

I encourage all those who have never read Senatorial Privilege by Leo Damore to do so; you will get the facts about Chappaquiddick the LSM refused to print. Ted ‘The Swimmer’ Kennedy was truly a vile creature.

    Bork was a genius and hopefully now, in his death, the real stories of his talent will emerge.

    I lived on Chappaquiddick at the time of The Famous Swim. Teddy’s story was so preposterous, and those of us year-rounders knew it, but, like All Things Kennedy, the media ate up his lame version. Fast forward to the 2012 Democratic Convention and The Ted Kennedy Rose-Colored Glasses Tribute. All I could think of was poor Mary Jo. Her life was snuffed out, yet this man was being applauded. Sigh.

      9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to eosredux. | December 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      We were in DC over Thanksgiving and went to Arlington. I have absolutely no idea why Ted is buried there. Really offensive.

        Besides being a Kennedy and a Senator, he was also PVT. Kennedy. Enlisted in the Army after being kicked out of Hah-vahd for cheating on a Spanish test. Went to Europe when everyone else was going to Korea. Went to Europe as a PVT., came back as a PVT.

        And it seems that Robert Bork outlived The Swimmer by 1215 days. Which means (as far as we know) he declined over 1200 times to piss on Kennedy’s grave. Which makes him a better man than I. (Although he might be like me and decline to do something like that on the hallowed grounds of Arlington.)

These proceedings showed the Democrats as they truly are, vile creatures. Kennedy was re-elected even after he left that poor girl to drown – doesn’t say much good about the people of Massachusetts.

RIP Robert Bork With Thomas Sowell at the 1987 hearings

Another fine example of how the vile leftists have screwed us royally. Note how they whined about poor john f-ing kerry getting “swiftboated”. They can dish it out but they cannot take it especially when it’s true.

Ah yes, that paragon, the Lion of the Senate (cough, cough) and possible traitor, who was never really questioned about his involvement with Andropov

yet vilely besmirched the character of another and was praised for this hatchet job. RIP Robert Bork knowing that those who attacked you could not measure up and that’s what drove them crazy.

    Meriadoc in reply to MAB. | December 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    MAB, the Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov made some priceless comments about the “Lion of the Senate” at this link:

    Bezmenov’s remarks on Kennedy start at 6:25 in the video.

    I don’t know how useful they found Kennedy, but Bezmenov and the rest of the Soviet nomenklatura sure thought he was an idiot.

The Bork inquisition was Joe Biden’s first diminishment of our political mental health. The late Lars-Erik Nelson’s work for the New York Daily News predated the on-line era, but he lead with something like the following–Professor Bork, did you ever abandon a woman in a river? Did you ever plagiarize a paper in law school?

Oh My! What to do, say or type.

“A LiEon IN of the Senate”.

And certainly wishing NOT to be included in the Leftist “War on Women” (tactic/strategy pick one), I hereby predict that elizabeth warren will equal, surely one of the most despicable WOmen ever to hold high public office in the United States, as another “A LiEon IN of the Senate”.

RIP, Robert Bork.

One of the great ironies of our era is that Kennedy will be…as he has been…called a “champion of women’s rights”…

and Bork will be called a misogynist.

What a world.

Now matter how vile the democrats were, the greater obscenity was the GOP going for it, and abandoning Bork.

By not fighting back, the GOP failed our our country, ceding to the corruption of our news media, and allowed the creation of a democrat/media smear machine. You might say we were “Boehnered” by the GOP.

Fast forward to 2012: we’re being Boehnered again — and the monster that is being allowed to be created will dwarf the democrat smear machine that destroyed Bork’s reputation. In fact, we’ll yearn for the old days where only reputations were destroyed.

Teddy the K. / Robert Byrd. The Killer / The Grand Cyclops. The Lyon of the Senate. / The Senates Constitutionalists. Appropriate corrupt bookends for a corrupt dem Senate. Both drunkards.

NC Mountain Girl | December 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Biden and Kennedy’s conduct was despicable but Bork could also be his own worse enemy. Image and demeanor often don’t matter that much while writing and lecturing in an academic setting but in televised Senate hearings they can be all that matters. Once the left decided to go on the attack, Bork’s looks and his didactic manner prevented a great many voters from even listening to the arguments on the merits.

Bork’s Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline is a prophetic book regarding our culture, our morals and our laws. He warned us to resist liberalism on every front.

[…] hearings began the modern era of political “character assassinations” – thanks Ted Kennedy! Judge Bork was attacked as a free-speech censor and a danger to the principle of separation of […]

[…] UPDATE, Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment. […]

Ted Kennedy, like John Kerry, was a traitor. He colluded with Russia and gave away some of our secrets to get their support to try to win the presidency against Reagan. What is it about Massachusetts that they will send us outright traitors to represent them? Unfortunately, they wound up representing the rest of us at the same time. They have again elected a liar and a cheat in the form of Elizabeth Warren. The only surprise is that they elected Brown for a two year term. I really, really wish the whole northern seaboard would secede from the union and join Canada. They would be happier and so would we.