Cultural Revolutions

Robert Bork, R.I.P.

I met Judge Robert Bork once, in the summer of 1989, when I was interning at Accuracy in Media.  I was working on a feature story for the Washington Inquirer, AIM’s weekly newspaper, about the Smithsonian Institution’s use of tax dollars to fund the performance of Santeria and Palo Mayombe rituals on the Mall in Washington, D.C.  The late Reed Irvine sent me over to the American Enterprise Institute, where Bork was speaking, in the hope that I could get a comment from him for the story.

Bork was more than happy to oblige.  His originalist understanding of the First Amendment, he said, did not prohibit federal involvement with religion, including the use of federal funds to advance a religion.  Therefore, he saw no problem with the Smithsonian’s activities.  When I asked whether he really thought it was the original intent of the Framers of the First Amendment to fund pagan animal sacrifices, he waved me away and turned back to the crowd of sycophantic young neocons gathered around him—none of whom, suffice it to say, had any reason to be concerned about the use of tax dollars to fund federal activities that undermined Christian culture.

Those who mourn the Senate’s failure to confirm President Reagan’s nomination of Judge Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court make the undeniable claim that a Justice Bork would have been different from a Justice Kennedy. ...

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