Today -- on this particular day -- there seems to be some confusion about what constitutes a "great man". I thought I might clear that up some.
Judge Robert H Bork, of the DC Court of Appeals, was nominated by President Reagan to the United States Supreme Court in 1987. He was immensely qualified by any standard. As Solicitor General, he won the admiration of Chief Justice Burger. He was a noted Constitutional and anti-trust scholar. His nomination to the Supreme Court was endorsed by justices John Paul Stevens and Byron White. He had authored detailed and very unflattering critiques of the Warren Court, and had long distinguished himself as a brilliant thinker who ably defended his originalist judicial philosophy.
Yet within hours of being nominated, one sitting senator blasted him with the most vile and slanderous statement imaginable. I'll let you guess which person said this:
Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is -- and is often the only -- protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy... President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.
Eventually the Democrats and the media created such a sustained firestorm of abominable, baseless lies that his nomination was defeated, thus the term "Borking" came to be. It goes without saying that this was before Fox News, before conservative talk radio.
Not terribly long after this, Judge Bork retired from his seat on the DC Circuit and entered semi-private life, although he has spoken and written extensively since then. He's painfully honest, and has spoken when asked about the injustice done to him. He's a little bitter, but has largely borne his burden -- this criminally cruel and unjust burden -- with dignity and aplomb. It must have stung some to see what kind of riff-raff HAS been elevated to the Supreme Court since his nomination was rejected. Anthony Kennedy got the slot that should have been Bork's, and his yearly antics as the deciding #5 vote on a host of rulings are an insult to any decent Constitutional scholar - or student. Ruth "ACLU General Counsel" Ginsburg, and now Sonia Sotomayor, two third-rate activist shills, will be forever honored as United States Supreme Court justices. Bork will not be so honored by history.
I must now confess, regardless of the impossibility of this dream, that I live for the day, in 2013, when we have a Republican president and Republican Senate. An opening for the Supreme Court will come up, and the Senate at that time will go into recess for a week. The president will make a recess appointment of a now-aged great man in the twilight of his life, named Robert H Bork, to the Supreme Court where he can sit and amaze us for a year.
He deserves it. And I have that dream, which I will not surrender.