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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 3, 2013/ 22 Teves, 5773

Robert Bork, verb

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Bork, v., trans., "To defame or vilify (a person) systematically, esp. in the mass media, usually with the aim of preventing his or her appointment to public office; to obstruct or thwart (a person) in this way."

--Oxford English Dictionary in an entry dated March 1992.

"We're going to bork him. We're going to kill him politically. ... This little creep, where did he come from?"

--Florynce Kennedy, addressing a conference of the National Organization for Women in July 1991 on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court of the United States.

It may be a distinction to become a verb, but not necessarily a welcome one. Look under Boycott, Captain Charles C. A land agent, he found himself shunned -- boycotted -- after he attempted to raise the rents of Irish tenant farmers who worked the fields of an absentee English lord. Or see Crapper, Thomas. He held at least three patents on improvements to the flush toilet, a useful and sanitary innovation that revolutionized plumbing systems worldwide.

And then there is Bork, Robert H., whose name has been transformed into a verb that may forever vindicate him. For it indicates how unfairly, indeed viciously, he was treated when Ronald Reagan nominated him for a seat on this country's highest court in 1987.

The most notable, the most elaborate, indeed the most unforgettable smear of a whole, well-orchestrated campaign of them directed against Judge Bork would come from the late Ted Kennedy, U.S. senator and demagogue of the first water -- whose own scandalous behavior a couple of decades earlier had faded by then. (Does anybody else remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne?)

It took the sainted senator from Massachusetts less than an hour after Robert Bork's nomination to the court had been announced to deliver a diatribe that is still quoted in the annals of American vilification. Indeed, no honest newspaper failed to include a snippet or two of that performance in Sen. Kennedy's obituary -- just to lend a little balance to all the exaggerated eulogies delivered on his passing. To quote the high point, or rather low point, of the senator's virtuoso performance at the art of misrepresentation:

"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...."

There wasn't a single assertion in the senator's rhetorical broadside that was true, and the cumulative effect would have done justice to a Joe McCarthy or Robert Welsh, or some of the campaign commercials directed at Mitt Romney (remember him?) during this last presidential election.

There were legitimate reasons to oppose the nomination of the Hon. Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court of the United States, like his assumption that, contrary to Mr. Justice Holmes, the life of the law has been logic, not experience. It was a natural enough error for someone of his intellect to fall into, assuming that the law is only an intellectual discipline -- rather than one shaped by precedent, custom, politics and practical necessity. Not to mention other pressures to which history is heir.

Scholar and logician that Robert Bork was, he wound up making an idolatrous doctrine of Original Intent, insisting that the intent of the Founders is all when it comes to constitutional interpretation, which gave his law a brittle and vulnerable character. For a constitution that cannot change cannot grow. And all living things must grow or die. Judge Bork never recognized that the Constitution lives, too, and that his suffocating literalism would not save it so much as mummify it. ("A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation." --Edmund Burke.)

But it was the illegitimate criticisms of Robert Bork's legal philosophy -- the complete misrepresentation of what he believed and ruled in case after case -- that his most ardent critics pushed beyond any bounds of civility. In the end, they would disgrace themselves rather than the judge once the verdict of history was in. Those of his critics who were honest would look back on that campaign of distortion and vituperation, and, in the light of time, regret it.

To quote Jeffrey Rosen, an aide to Joe Biden when the senator from Delaware chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee that so maligned Robert Bork: "Bork's record was distorted beyond recognition. ... The borking of Bork was the beginning of the polarization of the confirmation process that has turned our courts into war zones."

Robert Bork himself would go on to a second career as a philosopher-at-law and public intellectual of note. And as a verb -- one that would survive both him and his critics. And that still, in its concise way, says more about the nature of the debate over his qualifications for the Supreme Court than all the detailed studies of that controversy could hope to do.

On his death the other day at 84, Robert Heron Bork had long ago risen above all the smears directed at him. And become a verb.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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