Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Robert Bork redux

War Room: Salon:

It has been 20 years since his contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings, but Robert H. Bork, it seems, is back.

Somehow, the 80-year-old conservative judge, author and intellectual has managed to land in the spotlight several times this month. On June 7, the tort reform crusader who has derided the 'lottery-like windfalls' in civil lawsuits, filed a $1 million lawsuit of his own against the Yale Club of New York City after he slipped and fell while stepping up to a club lectern to deliver a speech....And today, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT, Bork was feted by the Federalist Society. The event, attended by about 200 people at $100 a head, included speakers such as Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese and University of California at Berkeley professor John Yoo.

The mood was jovial.

Bork's current affairs were officially ignored by most speakers, but attendees -- a dark suit and pantyhose bunch -- couldn't help whispering about the latest adventures of the man whose name has become, as Meese put it, "a noun, a verb and an adjective." Federalist Society president Eugene Meyer joked that he'd had a passing worry the guest of honor might be wary of speaking in ballrooms for fear of his past injury rate. When George Priest, who took over Bork's antitrust class at Yale Law School, admitted that Bork routinely said horrible things about Yale, and "has now added the Yale Club" to his list, he got a muted chuckle from a clearly uncomfortable crowd. How do you respond, exactly, when your hero has seemingly committed public hypocrisy by embracing the civil lawsuits he once opposed?...

"Bork was savaged because he was honest," said Jonathan Turley of George Washington Law School. "His hearings were refreshingly truthful, direct and substantive," the opposite, as he sees it, of the "contentless" confirmation of John Roberts, who Turley described as looking as though he were "raised hydroponically in the basement of the White House."

To say that recent confirmation hearings have been a disingenuous travesty (witness recent Supreme Court decisions) is not to say that on the merits, Bork should have been confirmed...unless your worldview is that of the Federalist Society.

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