by Edd Doerr
When Robert Bork passed away in mid-December, the media referred to him as a conservative. But that term is deceptive. Bork was well to the right of most traditional conservatives. He was an extremist who opposed church-state separation, women's rights, civil rights, civil liberties. He enthusiastically, as Solicitor General, supported Nixon's efforts to derail the Watergate investigation.
Not long before Reagan sought to appoint Bork to the Supreme Court I had the uncomfortable experience of sitting through a well-attended lecture by Bork at a Hilton in Washington. The gist of his speech was that transient or permanent majorities have the right to impose their beliefs and values on everyone else. I recall thinking at the time that "This guy is a Jerry Falwell in striped pants".
When Reagan made public his Bork nomination I was among the journalists who went to the Senate Judiciary Committee to look over the writings he had submitted prior to the confirmation hearing. I was appalled. In the coming weeks I was involved with the vast coalition of civil liberties, civic, religious and other groups mobilizing to oppose his Senate approval. I made 30 TV and radio appearances across the country calling attention to his numerous defects. Happily, the Senate turned hmi down 58 to 42.
But we still had the Neanderthal Reagan-appointed Antonin Scalia and we were about to get the Bush I-appointed zombie-like Clarence Thomas.