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

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.
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.

Join the Discussion

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

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Politics

Just In