Friends and family of Judge Robert Bork gathered in McLean, VA Saturday to lay to rest the legal titan. Six current Supreme Court Justices attended the service, a testament to Bork’s legal legacy. The former Judge and one-time nominee to the Supreme Court cast a long and important shadow over legal scholarship in the United States. His impact on the law will be felt long after yesterday’s burial.
Father Paul Scalia, son of Justice Antonin Scalia, conducted the High Mass at St. John the Beloved Church. National Review’s Kate O’Bierne and Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo read from scripture. A long-time agnostic, Judge Bork converted to Catholicism when he was 76. He often quipped that he was glad he converted so late in life as if wiped clean a life-time of accumulated sins.
Bork’s fellow parishioners were joined by a contingent of his colleagues from academia and several political luminaries. There was also a large number of Marines to pay respect to the former veteran of the Marine Corps.
Pat McSweeney, long-time friend of Bork and former Chair of the VA Republican Party told Breitbart News that it was a very moving, dignified service. Fr. Scalia’s homily touched on Bork’s legacy and the wisdom of the Founding Fathers.
The public mostly knows Bork for his failed nomination battle to the Supreme Court in the 1980s. It was the opening salvo in the politics of personal destruction that dominates the political landscape today. It was the first time the tactics of Saul Alinsky were applied to the national debate.
“The Left was not content to debate ideas,” McSweeney noted. “It set out to destroy Bork while lionizing Ted Kennedy, a man obviously lacking in moral character and whose attacks against Bork were shrill, despicable and unjustified.”
Bork entered the nomination hearings believing they were part of a civil discourse about legal theory, constitutional principles and one’s fitness for serving on the nation’s highest court. Bork’s legal scholarship was so important, however, that the Left didn’t want to just block his nomination, they sought to destroy his reputation. Even today, almost thirty years later, many on the Right don’t fully appreciate that “borking” one’s political opponent is now the Left’s standard operating procedure.
“In time,” McSweeney add, “Bork’s thoughtful approach to the law will be evident and most of his countrymen will come to regret that he was denied the opportunity to serve on the nation’s highest court.”
I will leave for another day the fact that no media outlets noted yesterday’s service. The wire services were silent as one of the nation’s foremost legal scholars was bid farewell by his friends.
Bork left this mortal coil engulfed in the love and devotion of family, friends and colleagues. He leaves behind a body of work that will shape legal thinking in this country for decades to come. A man can’t ask for much more than that. Rest in peace.