It has been a couple of weeks since the death of Robert Bork, which occurred shortly before Christmas and didn’t really get the news coverage that Bork merited.
Most of us would be honored to have our name become a verb. Especially those of us in public life. But that is not how Judge Robert H. Bork got into the dictionary. He was "borked" when President Reagan nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court. No sooner had the announcement been made by the White House on July 1, 1987, than Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) raced to the Senate floor to denounce the distinguished judge and former Yale Law Professor.
It may be a distinction to become a verb, but not necessarily a welcome one. Look under Boycott, Captain Charles C. A land agent, he found himself shunned -- boycotted -- after he attempted to raise the rents of Irish tenant farmers who worked the fields of an absentee English lord. Or see Crapper, Thomas. He held at least three patents on improvements to the flush toilet, a useful and sanitary innovation that revolutionized plumbing systems worldwide.
What might have been? If Robert Bork had been confirmed, perhaps this column would have appeared in this space.
It's always best, I find, not to talk too rapturously about Ye Olde Days: days which, on careful inspection, yield evidence of problems aplenty.
The last time I saw Bob Bork was the Sunday before Election Day. His familiar baritone was faint. You had to sit close to hear him, and he seemed to have a little difficulty following the conversation.
In October 2010, the Alliance Defending Freedom was privileged to recognize Judge Robert H. Bork with the “Edwin Meese III Award for Originalism and Religious Liberty.” At that time, we described him as, “one of the greatest legal minds in American history, and a person who has made an indelible impact on our nation, on its legal culture, and on the minds and hearts of many of its finest judges, law professors, students, and attorneys.”
Back in the 1960s, conservatives angry at the Supreme Court's rulings under its liberal chief justice put up billboards with the message: "Impeach Earl Warren." Today, you can order T-shirts and buttons with an updated demand: "Impeach John Roberts."