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    24 years ago today, Borking was born

    24 years ago today, Borking was born

    24 years ago a new term was coined, “borking” or “to bork.”  It is a tactic in which Democrats still revel, except when they feel they are on the receiving end at which point they cry foul.

    Borking is the complete politicization of the judicial nomination process, in which bad motives are imputed to purely legal positions.  So if a judicial nominee believes that a particular issue is beyond the reach of the federal judiciary and properly for the political process, that nominee will have the worst motives imputed to him or her, including an imputed desire for bad results.  Thus, taking the position that there is no federal constituional right for [insert claimed right here] allows people like Ted Kennedy to claim that the nominee wants [insert horrific result here].

    This tendency to treat judicial restraint as inherently negative, and to insist that the judiciary take on a super-political role, is why borking works so much better against conservatives.

    The ugliness of borking has effects beyond the judiciary, notes Joe Nocera in The NY Times:

    I bring up Bork not only because Sunday is a convenient anniversary. His nomination battle is also a reminder that our poisoned politics is not just about Republicans behaving badly, as many Democrats and their liberal allies have convinced themselves. Democrats can be — and have been — every bit as obstructionist, mean-spirited and unfair.

    I’ll take it one step further. The Bork fight, in some ways, was the beginning of the end of civil discourse in politics. For years afterward, conservatives seethed at the “systematic demonization” of Bork…. The anger between Democrats and Republicans, the unwillingness to work together, the profound mistrust — the line from Bork to today’s ugly politics is a straight one.


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    […] 24 years ago today, Borking was born […]

    I have always had a strong dislike of Ted Kennedy so maybe my view is prejudiced but to me it seems the huge divide started with him and won’t die out until all who thrive on his tactics are gone from this earth. This is not the country I grew up in and love (loved).

    Soccerdad | October 24, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Note too, who the current executive editor of the New York Times is: Jill Abramson. She co-wrote the book, Strange Justice, which extended the shameful tradition of Borking to Justice Thomas. If you think that maybe Abramson’s had second thoughts in the intervening years, she fully stood behind the “McCain had an affair” story even when the NYT’s Public Editor critiqued the story:

    I think that ignores the scarlet elephant in the room. A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than what most of them did. And if a newspaper is going to suggest an improper sexual affair, whether editors think that is the central point or not, it owes readers more proof than The Times was able to provide.

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