January 10, 2013

"But what 'borking' really amounted to was holding the nominee’s vigorously expressed views up to the light for public inspection."

Says Linda Greenhouse:
In five days of testimony, then-Judge Bork – a former professor of mine whom I liked and respected – had every opportunity to make his case. His ideas were fully aired and considered. By a vote of 58 to 42, the senators, having heard from their constituents, concluded that his constricted constitutional vision, locked into the supposed “original intention” of the framers, was not what the country needed or wanted....

... Robert Bork couldn’t accept the legitimacy of his defeat.... Judge Bork was hardly unique in his sense of entitlement, but it ran so deep that it prevented him from understanding the obvious dynamic of what happened. Because he had been nominated to fill the “swing seat” vacated by Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., a moderate conservative whose retirement left nearly every issue of constitutional moment hanging in the balance, his nomination became a public referendum on whether the court should move decisively to the right or stay basically the same. The status quo won out.

55 comments:

Michael K said...

And Ted Kennedy was just pointing out his constituents' views ?

Yes, that's all it was.

rhhardin said...

It serves him right for wanting blacks in chains and women confined to the kitchen.

Lem said...

Why dont we just do away with the Supremes and ask Nate Silver to be our Supreme Supreme then?

gerry said...

Yeah, and Kennedy's rant about Bork drowning young women in cars had nothing to do...oh, never mind.

Lem said...

Holy shit.. in the time of trillion dollar coins, maybe we shouldn't make any proposals.

edutcher said...

According to her, the Jews of Europe during WWII were borked.

rcocean said...

Greenhouse always put the friendly face on liberal fascism. This article is a perfect example.

Bork deserved it. Bullshit. Bork didn't deserve reporters going through his garbage, insanely unfair TV commercials, and scum like Ted Kennedy saying he was in favor of "Back alley abortions".

Mitchell the Bat said...

Linda Greenhouse makes Judge Bork sound like a nice guy.

ricpic said...

Hey Linda: Bork's constricted constitution good; your constricted girdle bad.

Jay said...

So Ms. Greenhouse can point us to the statements by Bork where he said he wanted an America with back alley abortions then, right?

Because that was what was said by Senator Kennedy.

BarrySanders20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BarrySanders20 said...

The Greenhouse effect is real. Consider the audience she is addressing. She knows what they want to read and has provided it for her entire career. They are her and she is them

Publius the Clown said...

What Greenhouse doesn't see is that the problem is precisely that Bork clearly articulated a respectable and mainstream method of constitutional interpretation--and that that's why he didn't get confirmed.

The precedent that the Bork hearings set is one that Supreme Court nominees follow to this day: be as obscure and opaque about your actual judicial philosophy as you can be, and foreclose the possibility of any real discussion of the very interpretive principles that will define you as a justice, and you've got a much greater likelihood of being confirmed.

Publius the Clown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AustinRoth said...

I am sure then she and those other great minds on the Left will be fine with the same treatment from Republicans for any potential Obama SCOTUS nominees.

To inform the public and all, you know.

PatHMV said...

That's not what "Borking" was. Borking was digging through the nominee's trash and taking his private video rental records in an effort to trash the nominee. It's the precise opposite of Linda's Greenhouse's definition. The Democrats could not successfully oppose Judge Bork on his record and his judicial views, so they resorted to character assassination.

chrisnavin.com said...

There's clearly some kind of greenhouse effect going on here.

It's a little sad that hitting the sweet spot for her audience means ignoring the difference between political theater and character assassination vs. principled disagreement.

We're all a little poorer for that circus having come to town.

dreams said...

I remember it as selected reality which the Hollywood crowd led by Gregory Peck bragged about at the time or just after, of course, they know all about selected reality.

Curious George said...

I wouldn't fuck Linda Greenhouse with Linda Greenhouse's dick.

Brennan said...

Linda Greenhouse doesn't debate anyone for the very reason that her craft is talking to a mirror.

I'd still pay to see her debate a mirror.

campy said...

I am sure then she and those other great minds on the Left will be fine with the same treatment from Republicans for any potential Obama SCOTUS nominees.

Of course not. That'll be racism.

SteveR said...

Why is "maintaining the status quo" only important when it means not getting more conservative?

wyo sis said...

PatHMV
Exactly right.

Marshal said...

locked into the supposed “original intention” of the framers,

"Original Intent" is a liberal perversion intended to weaken the philosophy by making it seem that "interpretation" of intent is required under all philosophies and therefore the interpretations the left makes are no different. It's another leftist attempt to win arguments by redefining words rather than honestly pointing out the principles.

Original meaning is the correct term.

Quayle said...

Hard to defend yourself in the hearings against blatently rediculous charges made on the Senate floor after the hearings.

Linda's all about the voice of the constituents. I'll be interested to see how much she honors and respects the constituents in the looming gun control debate.

These logic-swapping, double-standard lefties are getting so obvious. The question is why don't they feel as utterly vacuous and stupid as they appear?

Alex said...

John Roberts is the son of Bork.

Bob_R said...

Greenhouse was far more evenhanded than I expected of her. She seems to have liked Bork, who was by many reports a very good professor. However, I remember Specter's questioning as being far more incoherent than she indicates. I felt at the time that he was being disingenuous. (It's been a long time, and I'm just going on memory. I'm prejudiced since I remember Specter as a scummy Philly prosecutor.)

I'd like to believe her fantasy that it was all about the legal issues in the end - I believe that it's reasonable to use "advice and consent" oppose Bork (or Tribe) on purely ideological grounds. I feel Bork was far too deferential to majorities (while Tribe is far too deferential to the opinions of the faculty lounge.) Wouldn't vote for either of them.

Brennan said...

The question is why don't they feel as utterly vacuous and stupid as they appear?

Because of the mirror.

Her readers actually have to dissent. If you don't read her, and she really doesn't respond well to criticism, it's going to be difficult to get her on the record with a response. One must actually level the critique of her writing.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

This is one of those times when I wish I were not an agnostic/atheist because I love the imagery of a Judge Bork, from somewhere in patriot heaven, shoving a long hot poker, daily, up Ted Kennedy's ass, in Hell.

Lucien said...

So, does Ms. Greenhouse oppose the oft expressed notion that the confirmation process (a stheater, at least) was significantly diffeent after Bork than before?

If she opposs that view, then does she maintain that the process is essentially the same post-Bork as pre-Bork?

If she shares that view rather than opposing it, then does she maintain that "Holding the nominee's vigorously expressed views up for public inspection" was something new that happened to nominee Bork? It's hard to explain the change otherwise.

Brennan said...

Here is Linda Greenhouse writing in October 1997 about what it means to be "Borked".

Why Bork Is Still a Verb in Politics, 10 Years Later

This piece is one of a series in 1997 for which she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

PatHMV said...

There is a difference between the reason the liberals opposed Bork and the means they used to oppose him. They didn't oppose him because he watched dirty videos or was kind of weird looking. They opposed him because he was a conservative. At the time, however, the long-standing tradition, for both parties, was for the Senate to defer to the ideological preferences of the President in considering appointments, and not to oppose a nominee based solely on that ideology. So the Democratic Senators could not openly vote against him because of his ideology. They had to find personal failings to give them cover for their opposition.

dreams said...

"This is one of those times when I wish I were not an agnostic/atheist because I love the imagery of a Judge Bork, from somewhere in patriot heaven, shoving a long hot poker, daily, up Ted Kennedy's ass, in Hell."

I hear ya, if there really was a heaven and hell then all liberals would go to hell, I wish.

steve said...

Please. This was little more than naked revenge against Bork for firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973, for which they never forgave him. Disingenuous concerns about "constricted constitutional vision" are mere window dressing.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Bullshit.

Judge Bork's "ideas were .... aired and considered" and then mercilessly and continuously disparaged and denounced by the MSM.

Not content with that, Judge Bork was personally mocked and vilified, and slandered with innuendo and half truths.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

...his constricted constitutional vision...

Damn right its constricted. Isn't that the point of having a Constitution? The open ended, "living" Constitution that liberals love to flog is no constitution at all.

Lem said...

What PatHMV just said is exactly the way I remember it.

Their success changed that.

They don't have to pretend anymore.

bob said...

To quote what kennedy said on the senate floor:

"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."

So these were Bork's vigorously held views? Can she back that up with actual citations?

RAS743 said...

If you want to know what an intellectual herd of sheep looks like, just read the comments section of the NYT. I'm counting on it eventually going bankrupt, but I dunno. That a lot of people spouting the same bilge. Amazing,

RAS743 said...

If you want to know what an intellectual herd of sheep looks like, just read the comments section of the NYT. I'm counting on it eventually going bankrupt, but I dunno. That a lot of people spouting the same bilge. Amazing,

Michael K said...

After Bork no nominee has ever told the truth. They know better now.

Bob_R said...

The ironic thing is that Obamacare has recently been saved by Roberts' "Borkian" decision. Bork was smarter than Roberts (that's not a huge insult to Roberts) and probably would have would have crafted a more clever justification. But the most important legitimate criticism of Bork is that he is overly deferential to majority rule - that he had a "constricted vision" of "islands of individual rights in a sea of majority rule." Thirty years ago the left did not want the majority to overrule Roe v. Wade. Now the left wants 50.6% of the people to be able to control what kind of insurance you buy, what kind of weapons you can own, what kind of food you can eat, what kind of car you can drive, what kind of political ads you can buy, etc., etc. They have sunk all of the islands that Bork believed in and left only the new-found islands of abortion and sodomy.

Fritz said...

Just Greenhouse gas.

Kirk Parker said...

"... rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids ..."

So Bork was confirmed after all?

Sam L. said...

And we know that Linda, sweet and gentle, has NO point of view that might affect her opinion on this.

Ummmmmm hmmmmmm.

JAL said...

Ted Kennedy on Robert Bork

Greenhouse -- in early dementia maybe?

Terence Noonan said...

Here's Judge Bork on the First Amendment in 1996 in Slouching Towards Gomorrah:
I am suggesting that censorship be considered for the most violent and sexually explicit material now on offer, starting with the obscene prose and pictures available on the Internet, motion pictures that are mere rhapsodies to violence, and the more degenerate lyrics of rap music. Censorship is a subject that few people want to discuss, not because it has been tried and found dangerous or oppressive but because the ethos of modern liberalism has made any interference with the individual's self-gratification seem shamefully reactionary."

Rick67 said...

Let's parse this shall we?

"In five days of testimony, then-Judge Bork – a former professor of mine whom I liked and respected – had every opportunity to make his case.

Really? Within the confines of the confirmation hearings? Make his case to whom? The American people? Unfiltered by the MSM?

"His ideas were fully aired and considered."

Always - always - pay attention to agentless passive constructions. Considered by whom? Senators? Were they considered? Were they fully aired? See above. I remember that Sen Kennedy would just keep rattling off comments and questions as if Judge Bork hadn't said a word. Kennedy was following a script.

"By a vote of 58 to 42, the senators, having heard from their constituents"

Is this what happened? How does she know this? Did constituents really contact senators and say anything? And did other constituents make the opposite case?

"Concluded that his constricted constitutional vision, locked into the supposed “original intention” of the framers, was not what the country needed or wanted...."

Really. This is what constituents said to their senators? Who thinks his constitutional vision is so constricted or is this Greenhouse's characterization? And if we don't go with "original intention" then what else do we go with? On what basis? Guided by what limiting principles?

But liberals don't have principles. Not really. This is the deep dark deadly truth that has been revealed over the last few years.

Why is it so hard for liberals like Greenhouse to admit, "We didn't give a damn what Bork said, we smeared him, we turned people against him, we had the votes, we defeated him, because we want to use the Constitution to mean whatever the heck we want it to mean this afternoon, and tomorrow we'll change our tune if it so suits us".

Mangy bottom feeding hypocrites.

Rick67 said...

And while we're at it to what extent does Greenhouse encourage the "borking" of any Democratic politician? according to her definition of the term?

Mangy bottom feeding hypocrite.

CWJ said...

The irony right now is that had Bork been confirmed, It may very well be Obama who would have nominated his replacement.

BarryD said...

'But the most important legitimate criticism of Bork is that he is overly deferential to majority rule - that he had a "constricted vision" of "islands of individual rights in a sea of majority rule."'

Agreed.

And as much as the right is sore that Bork didn't get confirmed, I don't think that the right would be at all happy with his opinions. Furthermore, he was hardly an originalist in any intellectually honest sense. He had his own ideas about things, and frankly, many of them were so wrong that I find them astonishing.

Sometimes, even Ted Kennedy ended up on the right side of things. I don't think that happened very often, nor do I tend to think it was for the right reasons, but this was a "stopped clock is right twice a day" moment for the disgusting, fat old drunk murderer.

BarryD said...

(Lest my tenses sound wrong, yes, I do know that he is dead.)

BarryD said...

...meaning Bork, but of course so is Kennedy...

JAL said...

Seems like Bork was rather ... Progressive re his censorship views.

Not so much what was to be censored, but the need to censor.

mikee said...

Here is what Borking produces:

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor in confirmation hearings assures Senators that she considers Heller v. DC "settled law" then she votes against McDonald v. Chicago.

And yet she remains on the Court after an obvious perjury.