Robert Bork, R.I.P.

Ilya Shapiro salutes the distinguished judge for his revival of originalism, his resistance to Warren Court lunacies, and his single-handed transformation for the better of the field of antitrust. “The injustice and character assassination done against him in 1987 was a watershed moment that changed American history and government for the worse,” notes Ted Frank.

More: NYTimes obit; Roger Pilon; John Podhoretz, Commentary; Timothy Sandefur; Adam White, Commentary, on the 1987 Supreme Court confirmation fight a quarter-century later; my extremely critical review of Bork’s 1997 Slouching Toward Gomorrah; Jay Nordlinger with an anecdote of Patrick Leahy and Judge Bork; more on Bork’s religious beliefs from Eric Olson (no relation) at Catholic World Report; Michael McConnell; Jeff Rosen. Andrew Grossman reminds us that even if we may take it for granted now, Bork’s work on antitrust was a big, big deal in the revitalization of economic dynamism.


  • Don’t forget the Saturday Night Massacre.


  • With the Sandy Hook massacre, maybe some of the radical ideas espoused in “Slouching toward Gomorrah” should not be dismissed so blithely.

  • In general, I supported Reagan’s efforts to move Federal courts to the right, including in 1987 the Bork nomination. Later, however, I came to realize that Bork did *not* share the libertarian tendencies of many Republican nominees: notably he opposed the Griswold decision overturning State bans on contraception not just on narrow originalist terms (they didn’t have contraceptives back in 1787), but also because he actually favored such bans. Ted Kennedy did us a favor by making Reagan try again.

  • […] Bork’s views, you can’t defend many of the tactics used against him in 1987. Earlier here. […]