Blumenthal And Hirono Attempt To Bork Judge Barrett

‘Stirring Up Fear Is The Point Of Borking’: Without Evidence, Some Democrats Have Attempted To Fearmonger About Judge Barrett, Echoing Sen. Ted Kennedy’s Infamous Smears Of Judge Robert Bork


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): “I think that the legacy of the Bork hearings continue to reverberate, and his name has become a verb, the borking of nominees. I think what we have seen today is an attempted borking of Judge Amy Barrett. The problem is they don't have anything in your record that they can use … to suggest that you are somehow going to fundamentally change America that now they have to attribute to you the worst readings and most draconian misinterpretations of Justice Scalia.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 10/14/2020)


Democrats: ‘I Think It Would Be An America Where I Wouldn’t Want To Live’

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): “It is par for the course because Americans want to know your legal positions on these issues and they have a right to know. They deserve and need to know. And I am surprised, and I think a lot of Americans will be scared, by the idea that people who want to simply marry or have a relationship with the person they love could find it criminalized, could find marriage equality cut back. I think it would be an America where I wouldn’t want to live.”
JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT: “Well, Senator to suggest that’s the kind of America I want to create isn’t based in any facts in my record.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 10/14/2020)

  • SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): “I want you to keep in mind how many people are listening and watching because they may take a message from what you say. They may see what you say and be deterred from using contraceptives or may feel the fear that it could be banned.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 10/14/2020)

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): “This is the danger we’re facing with your being put on the Court.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 10/14/2020)


Flashback: Ted Kennedy: ‘Robert Bork's America Is A Land In Which Women Would Be Forced Into Back-Alley Abortions’

“From the outset, with Senator Edward Kennedy’s ‘Robert Bork’s America’ speech, a speech strategically laced with ‘half-truths’ and provocative language, the kid-gloves that [were] generally worn when evaluating nominees to the Supreme Court were taken off an checked at the door.” (Frank Guliuzza, “Review: The Struggle Over Bork,” The Review of Politics, Vol. 52, No. 3, Summer 1990)

  • FORMER SEN. TED KENNEDY (D-MA): “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 would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.” (Sen. Kennedy, Congressional Record, S.18519, 7/01/1987)


The Assault On Bork ‘Did Not Resemble An Argument So Much As A Lynching,’ ‘An Intellectual Vulgarization And Personal Savagery To Elements Of The Attack, Profoundly Distorting The Record And The Nature Of The Man’

WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL BOARD In 1987: “When Judge Robert H. Bork was nominated to the Supreme Court, we hoped and expected to be able to support his confirmation -- comfortably and unequivocally -- even though his political inclinations are far from our own. Those many aspects of the campaign against him that did not resemble an argument so much as a lynching only reinforced our original instinct….  We are not being playful when we say that much of the anti effort was almost enough to make you pro. It's not just that there has been an intellectual vulgarization and personal savagery to elements of the attack, profoundly distorting the record and the nature of the man. It is also, more important, that the dismal political and programmatic content of some of the argument against him, as heard day after day in the committee hearings, could only confirm a suspicion that the time is ripe for a rigorous challenge to the lazy and dangerous cliches that often pass for policy wisdom and juridical profundity among liberals these days. There was also something disquieting in the idea that intellectual audacity and a challenge to prevailing legal orthodoxy were automatically to be punished or at least put down.” (Editorial, “The Bork Nomination,” The Washington Post, 10/05/1987)

STEPHEN L. CARTER, Yale Law School Professor: “The [Bork] proceedings swiftly veered off course from discussion of judicial philosophy to personal attacks on the nominee…. Stirring up fear is the point of borking. It personalizes policy. The nominee is not merely wrong but dangerous; not merely mistaken but evil.” (Stephen L. Carter, “The Tragic History of Robert Bork’s Last Name,” Bloomberg Opinion, 12/20/2012)


Bork Opponents: ‘Regret' ‘Attempts To Stir Up Fear About Him As A Person,’ ‘I Regret My Part In What I Now Regard As A Terrible Political Mistake’

“Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and one of Bork’s principal antagonists at the hearings, later described efforts by many in the opposition as ‘attempts to stir up fear about him as a person, which I tried not to do and regret that others did.’” (Stephen L. Carter, “The Tragic History of Robert Bork’s Last Name,” Bloomberg Opinion, 12/20/2012)

JAMES ROBERTSON, Retired U.S. District Judge & Former Bork Opposition Researcher: “In the summer of 1987, I led a team of young lawyers to oppose President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. … I regret my part in what I now regard as a terrible political mistake. the treatment of Bork touched off a Thirty Years’ War on judicial appointments. We have politicized the judicial confirmation process far beyond historical norms and undermined public confidence in the judiciary.” (James Robertson, “The Judicial Nomination War Started With Bork. Let’s End It With Gorsuch,” The Washington Post, 3/15/2017)



Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Senate Democrats, History, Supreme Court