Tom Korologos, a Reagan administration aide who helped Robert Bork in his confirmation fight, peddles some well worn myths about the Bork nomination in this op-ed in the Washington Post. Like this one:
The Reagan White House, as well as Judge Bork himself, asked me to assist with his confirmation. Bork had literally written the textbook on antitrust law while a professor at Yale Law School; he was a former Solicitor General as well as a federal circuit judge; and he had perhaps the most brilliant legal mind of his era. I thought we were in for a fairly routine confirmation.
Boy, was I wrong.
Bork’s problem? He was conservative.
No, that was not Bork’s problem. If it was just because he was a conservative, then how does Korologos explain the overwhelming confirmation of Justice Scalia just a year earlier? Scalia was confirmed 98-0 (and the two abstentions were both Republicans). Or that of John Roberts, also a conservative, who was confirmed 78-22?
Heck, even Clarence Thomas, who was every bit as conservative and far more controversial because of the nature of the hearings, still got confirmed by a 52-48 vote. Yet Bork couldn’t. And Korologos wants people to believe that the only reason was because he was a conservative? That’s quite ridiculous.
Bork was voted down not because he was a mere conservative but because he took some incredibly radical positions on the law, like claiming that the First Amendment only protects explicitly political speech and provided no protection for non-political speech like literature, poetry, scientific writing and so forth. That’s not just a conservative position, it’s an absolutely insane position.