Robert Bork was nominated by President Ronald Regan on July 7, 1987 to replace Justice Lewis Powell Jr., who was retiring that year.
Bork was rejected by the Senate and Anthony Kennedy replaced Justice Powell. He was defeated by 58 (against) to 42 (for), which is noted as the largest margin in history. Many reasons why Bork was rejected because of his views on certain topics, his controversial articles, and other things.
Bork started off as the solicitor general for President Nixon in 1973, which was during the Watergate Scandal. President Nixon gave an order to his attorney general to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, but both the attorney general and deputy attorney general refused. Cox was requesting the tapes from Nixon’s conversations in the oval office.
Bork believed it was up to him to carry out Nixon’s requests to fire Cox, and after firing Cox, he became attorney general. The event is now known as the Saturday Night Massacre which involves the firing of Cox. This could have been a part of the reason why he wasn’t confirmed because he played a crucial role in the Watergate Scandal.
By 1974, Nixon resigned from his presidency; even though Bork had fired Cox, the Supreme Court ruled that he need to turn in those tapes.After a couple years flew by, he became a federal appeal court judge for five years. In 1987, Justice Powell decided to retire. Thus, opening a spot on the Supreme Court, and Bork was nominated by President Reagan to replace him. Many senators knew about his long paper trail of controversial writings. Bork said, in an article, that, “People have no right to privacy in the constitution.” Bork didn’t know it at the time, but he was painting a very unpleasing picture of himself to the public eye.
However, he had a lot of controversial legal writings in his past based on certain controversial topics. He wrote an article opposing the civil rights law that hotels, restaurants, and other businesses must serve people of all races. Liberals were against him because of this article and some of them believed if they would confirm, then he might overturn those rulings. Bork was one of the most controversial votes to which the senate rejected him.
Liberals seen Bork as an evil, demeaning, and racist conservative. Bork didn’t oppose many Supreme Court rulings, aside from the civil rights law such as: opposing the one man-one vote decision on legislative apportionment and opposing gender equality. Liberals were against him since the beginning because of his views, and the fact that he would have undone a lot of previous decisions on lots of cases. It’s good he didn’t get confirmed because he would have been protecting his party’s agenda, and not the citizens. Opposing both gender equality and civil rights put Bork on a very bad boat.
At the end of the day senators will be relying on there constituents, but this time they didn’t like what he had to say. Senators had to protect themselves when voting if Bork was going to be confirmed or not because then their constituents could vote them out. This could have been a really bad thing for the Supreme Court because it would have cause an uproar with citizens all over the US. Civil rights is a very sensitive topic and just the minor opposition can paint a bad picture of you. When Bork talked about his opposition allowing any race to go to establishments he kept digging himself a bigger hole. Bork’s ideas on certain topics outraged many liberals because he was trying to opposing and he could have change many decisions. He was one of the most controversial nominees for the Supreme Court.
Nobody in the Liberals liked him because they believed he should be served on a platter. Bork suffered through the confirmation hearing because the questions they asked him, and then he became irritated. Now Bork probably thought that they were doing this on purpose because if some of the things he said in the past. As he answered questions the senators started noticing that his answers proved he didn’t’ care about the public at all. When it came down to the confirmation hearings, he might have had public opinion, but by then, a lot of the senators had made their decision. During the hearing, he was asked many questions about his opposition towards some Supreme Court decisions.
Conservatives wanted him in the Supreme Court because they knew he would have made so many decisions towards the conservative way. Senators asked him about what he said about gender equality; in which he said that anything about women shouldn’t be left up to a judge to make the decision. However, Senator Kennedy said. “Your views would take us back to the days when women were second-class citizens.” This is upsetting because till this very day women are not treated equally, and if Bork was confirmed woman would probably be housewives. The closing remarks of Sen. Kennedy’s opening salvo against the Bork nomination, in which he declared that ‘Reagan should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate, and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and on the next generation of Americans,” are informative. This really demonstrates a reason why he wasn’t confirmed.
When the senators heard his thoughts about certain decisions that got them wondering what he would do in cases that came to the Supreme Court. Bork being a very conservative and opinionated it caused many heads to shake. At the beginning the Democrats wanted nothing to do with him, but by the end of the hearings some of the Republicans didn’t either. He upset many people with the comments md answers he gave.
Also there is possibility that senators where thinking about their constituents when deciding about voting for him thus he got rejected. They also believed that if he was on the court he would use his own beliefs, views, and philosophies and that is something the senators didn’t want. Bork not being confirmed was a good decision because then he wouldn’t overturned Supreme Court cases based on his views and ideology. Senators didn’t care how qualified he was they only cared about his views about certain topics that they don’t like dealing with. The Supreme Court has a certain way of discussing those topics and they don’t like to touch on them through the media. Bork might have been the most qualified, but he was racist, had very objected views on topics. After Robert Bork got rejected it sparked a debate because, of course, the Republicans wanted him to be confirmed. Some people were grateful he wasn’t confirmed and others weren’t.
Most of the people who were happy that he wasn’t confirmed were Democrats because they have very strong views towards those topics he opposed. Although there was about a handful of Republicans who voted against Bork because they didn’t want their constituents to think they had the same ideas. Liberals were very upset when they found out what he said, but just like all conservatives he just felt very strongly. However he shouldn’t have went public with those oppositions then maybe he would had a chance to be confirmed. Those who were upset when he wasn’t confirmed where you’re typical Republicans.
They liked his ideas and views on those topics because it was the conservative’s ideology. However, the senators made the best decision because if he would have been confirmed then he would have made a big impact on the way we look at cases. Bork’s ideas on certain topics outraged many liberals because he was trying to oppose, and he could have changed many decisions. He was one of the most controversial nominees for the supreme court. Even though he wasn’t confirmed Robert Bork went on to serve on a federal bench plus he also wrote a couple of books as well. Robert Bork died in 2012 and he is still known for the Saturday Night Massacre, the largest margin in history, and for his rejection of becoming a Supreme Court justice.