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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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    MaggotAtBroadAndWall | October 23, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    George Bush nominated 39 people to fill judicial openings that Democrats blocked either in the Senate Judiciary Committee or filibustered on the Senate floor. Liberal opinion shapers like Bruce Ackerman, Cass Sunstein, and Laurence Tribe all wrote public columns encouraging Democratic Senators to block and/or filibuster ALL of Bush’s nominees whether they were “suitable” or not.

    Miguel Estrada was a strong conservative Bush nominee who earned the distinction of being the first appellate court nominee to ever be filibustered in the Senate. Having established the precedent, the Democrats were emboldened to filibuster 9 more appellate court nominees. At the end of Bush’s term, there were at least 9 openings Bush had tried to fill but whose nominations were blocked by Democrats and at least 2 of the openings have been filled by Obama.

    Yet, when Obama nominated Elana Kagan to the Supreme Court, the same Miguel Estrada who was blocked by Democrats wrote a letter to members of the Judiciary Committee endorsing Kagan. This is what infuriates me. Democrats play politics with our nominees, (it really seems to preceed Bork’s nomination – from what I can tell it actually started during Nixon’s presidency), and then our side buries the hatchet in the name of comity.

      Milwaukee in reply to MaggotAtBroadAndWall. | October 23, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      I’m just guessing here, but is Miguel Estrada by any chance of Hispanic origin? See White Males help out females and minorities. When those females and minorities get into power they follow the example of the White Male and help out females and minorities.

      And Colin Powell and Condi Rice supported 0’Bama. Too many White Males are convinced they need to do this.

    Milwaukee | October 23, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    All those women wouldn’t be needing so many backroom abortions if their were fewer men with Ted Kennedy’s morals running around.

    John Kennedy probably did more damage with his “I’m a Catholic but that doesn’t mean anything to my decision making process.” speech.

    Just think, Barack Hussein 0bama refused to publish anything because of what happened to Bork. 0 didn’t want that to happen to him. So instead, we have “autobiographies” which are fantasies by Bill Ayers. Good grief.

    I guess we can no longer use the bumper sticker that “The Nuclear Industry has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy’s car!”

    When historians chronicle Civil War 2, the Bork hearings will be viewed as our Kansas-Nebraska Act.

    G Joubert | October 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Politics ain’t beanbag, including confirmation battles over judicial nominees. Republicans need to man up.

    el polacko | October 24, 2011 at 3:29 am

    the dems tried to make bork out to be the devil and the repubs couldn’t admit that bork did hold some pretty radical positions.

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