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The benefits of Borking

By Bruce Walker
web posted August 15, 2005

Conservative pundits, with the exception of the brilliant and beautiful Ann Coulter, are upset – rightfully upset – about the double standard given Judge Roberts in the confirmation process. The New York Times has tried to get into the adoption records of his two children (despicable); Barbara Boxer raises arguments Roberts made as an attorney on behalf of a client as "proof" of his radicalism (contemptible); and Ron Wyden flat out lies about what Judge Wyden said in his courtesy visit to the senator's office (ghastly.)

There is an effort to "Bork" Judge Roberts, and conservatives who doubt that are wrong. We should not, however, be troubled by this. We should, instead, rejoice in the "Borking" of Judge Roberts.

Judge Bork was, and is, one of the greatest legal minds in America. He was a fair, an honorable and an outstanding judge when President George H. Bush nominated him to the Supreme Court. The campaign to destroy the reputation of this good man was one of the lowest points in American political history.

What happened to Judge Bork happened also to Judge Thomas. The Left dredged up Anita Hill, who promised that she would not write a book and try to cash in on her notoriety – which was a lie – and tried to utterly destroy a man who had led an estimable life, unquestioned by anyone until that fateful day when President George H. Bush nominated him to replace Thurgood Marshall.

What the Left tried failed, even when Democrats controlled the Senate. What the Left is trying with Judge Roberts will fail as well. Even if it does not fail in keeping Roberts off the Supreme Court, it will ultimately fail.

Nixon, who wanted a conservative on the Supreme Court, nominated Clement Haynesworth, a Southerner who always, later, would turn out to be a genuinely moderate judge. Senate Democrats defeated the nomination by 55 to 45. Nixon then nominated Judge G. Harrold Carswell, another Southerner and, quite frankly, was not qualified to be on the Supreme Court (which Nixon knew.)

This much more conservative and much less suitable nominee was defeated by 51 to 45. Nixon, cleverly, opined that this was proof that Democrats were bigoted against any Southerner, and he promptly picked William Rehnquist to fill the same seat, and Rehnquist was overwhelmingly confirmed.

Presidents, who have the initiative and can choose the political battlefield, ultimately get nominees of their political philosophy confirmed. The error of President George H. Bush in the Bork nomination was not following that up with, say, Clarence Thomas, and choosing instead David Souter just to get someone confirmed. Having thrown everything imaginable against Bork, the Left would have looked silly regurgitating the same hysterical arguments against the next nominee.

But why is "Borking" something that should comfort us? Consider that Clarence Thomas was also "Borked" and it failed. What was the consequence of that? Although we can only guess what goes on in the mind of Justice Thomas, it is almost certain that the vile treatment he received at the hands of the Left steeled his resolve to be a conservative jurist.

John RobertsVilifying Judge Roberts will do the same thing. John Roberts, perhaps for the first time, is experiencing just what many conservatives have experienced: the Left has no scruples, no honor, no decency and no interest in justice. While Roberts doubtless has seen this intellectually, the good natured comments about him from the Washington community seem to indicate that he has, until now, believed that people on the Left could be decent human beings when politics was involved. Certainly the collegiality of the legal community would reinforce that belief.

Now, having seen his wife attacked, his children attacked, his statements maliciously misstated and his work as an attorney representing clients used as fodder for more attacks on him, Judge Roberts, soon to be Justice Roberts, feels what until now he has just known. The worse the Left behaves, the less likely that Ann Coulter's fears about another Souter will come to pass and the more likely that Justice Roberts will be another Justice Scalia.

The Left knows only how to hurt. The madder it gets (in both senses of the word) the more it lashes out furiously and wildly at its perceived enemies. If Senate Democrats had simply folded on Judge Roberts, complimented President Bush on picking a good man, and left things be, then Justice Roberts might well have drifted Left during his tenure on the Supreme Court, but "Borking" him and then losing the confirmation battle means that this decent man will never forget the stench of the indecency that is the Left.

Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.


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