Robert Bork, who lost a seat in the Supreme Court after a Democratic uproar over his nomination, died today from complications brought on by heart disease. He was 85.
Bork was a highly-regarded figure in the political world of the ’60s and ’70s, becoming a legal advisor to President Nixon after leaving his professorial duties at Yale Law. He was influential in the ever-rising contention between Republicans and Democrats, claiming that Dems were set to change the nation forever with laws regarding abortion, prayer in schools, and criminal rights. He was widely considered to be a conservative icon, but often drew criticism for his sharp views on Civil Rights, women’s rights, and education. Senator Robert Kennedy spoke candidly about his views on Bork being appointed a leadership role when it came to light that he was up for a position with the Supreme Court under President Reagan:
“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,” Kennedy said.
Bork was defeated for a nomination by a 58-42 vote, which became infamous in the annals of political history.