Why Robert Bork Didn't Belong on the Supreme Court, in 85 Words

More

Any jurist so ready to gut the First Amendment's protections couldn't be trusted to safeguard the balance of the Bill of Rights.

bork full.png
Associated Press

Conservative legal scholar Robert Bork, famous for the heated hearings that eventually led to his failure to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, died this week. Passions still run high over those hearings. But this passage from his 1996 book Slouching Toward Gomorrah sums up why he had no place on the court charged with safeguarding the Constitution:

I am suggesting that censorship be considered for the most violent and sexually explicit material now on offer, starting with the obscene prose and pictures available on the Internet, motion pictures that are mere rhapsodies to violence, and the more degenerate lyrics of rap music. Censorship is a subject that few people want to discuss, not because it has been tried and found dangerous or oppressive but because the ethos of modern liberalism has made any interference with the individual's self-gratification seem shamefully reactionary.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Ghost Trains of America

Can a band of locomotive experts save vintage railcars from ruin?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In