Statement by Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearing on the Nomination of Honorable Robert Bork, . . . September 15, 1987
Judge Robert Bork’s record of opposition to Supreme Court decisions on civil rights, women’s rights, and rights to privacy evoked strong reactions from congressional liberals and civil rights advocates. During Bork’s confirmation hearing, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts declared that Bork “is hostile to the rule of law and the role of the courts in protecting individual liberty.”
Robert Bork Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
The Senate Rejects a Supreme Court Nominee
President Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork, a prominent conservative judge, to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 1987. Bork gained notoriety in 1973 when President Richard Nixon directed him to fire the special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal. During his 1987 confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Bork refused to discuss his political philosophy, but his published record aroused liberal opposition. Bork’s nomination signaled a growing polarization in the Senate’s confirmation process.
Presidential appointments of Supreme Court justices require the Senate’s advice and consent. In 1987 the Senate rejected the nomination of Judge Robert Bork by the largest margin in Senate history.