Judge Robert Bork

On this date in 1987, The United States Senate rejected the nomination of Judge Robert Bork as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 58-42. Born in 1927 in Pittsburgh, PA, Judge Bork was a graduate of the University of Chicago. He was a professor of law at Yale Law School and served as Solicitor General during the Nixon Administration. He made history on October 20, 1973 when he became Acting Attorney General upon the resignation of the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General both out of protest and then Bork subsequently-on orders from the President-fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in what became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre”. In 1982, Bork began service as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. After the retirement of Justice Lewis Powell, President Ronald Reagan nominated him for the vacant seat on July 1, 1987. After a highly partisan confirmation hearing which debated Judge Bork’s “original intent” judicial philosophy, his nomination went down in defeat by the largest margin by which any Supreme Court nominee had ever been defeated. Justice Anthony Kennedy would later be successfully confirmed for the seat. After the defeat, Judge Bork resigned his seat on the Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit in 1988. He went on the become a prolific author and noted legal scholar and advisor. Judge Bork passed away on December 12, 2012 at age 85. The term “Bork” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary as a result of his nomination battle. “Bork” is defined as “To defame or villify (a person) systematically, esp. in the mass media, usually with the aim of preventing his or her appointment to public office”.