Judge Robert Bork, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1987 by Ronald Reagan but voted down by the Senate, has died, according to reports.
Bork’s nomination was denied after he became the victim of a campaign of character assassination led by Edward Kennedy, who charged Bork would destroy the nation:
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.
The strategy worked, and Reagan ended up nominating Anthony Kennedy, who continues to sit on the Court and who has served as a swing vote rather than the reliable conservative voice Bork would have been.
Bork was unquestionably qualified to sit on the court. He was a federal judge, had served as solicitor general, and was a widely respected legal scholar.