The Tempting of America (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Robert Bork maintains that judges should try to understand the Constitution as it was intended by its authors: They should not enact their own political positions into law. He defends his analysis against the objections that other legal theorists have raised and counterattacks with some telling blows against alternative theories. Constitutional interpretation has for Judge Bork a more than theoretical interest. Nominated to the Supreme Court in 1987, Bork found himself the subject of bitter controversy. Critics claimed that his variety of jurisprudence failed to protect freedom of speech and other civil rights. They tried to turn the tables on his claim that many judges are biased by liberal prejudices and contended that Bork’s decisions reflected his own conservative brand of politics.
On October 23, 1987, the Senate rejected Bork’s nomination. In The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law, Bork offers his version of the fight. As he sees it, his opponents often resorted to biased and dishonest charges. His presentation emphasizes the commonsense character of his approach to the Constitution, a document that he thinks ought to be read like any other legal document. For a judge faced with the free-speech clause of the First Amendment, for example, the key issue is what the authors meant by “freedom of speech.” The judge who decides a free-speech case should not interpret the provision according to his or her own views on...
(The entire section is 2157 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
The American Spectator. XXIII, February, 1990, p. 43.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. November 12, 1989, p. 1.
The Nation. CCXLIX, December 18, 1989, p. 756.
The New Republic. CCI, November 6, 1989, p. 118.
The New York Times Book Review. XC IV, November 19, 1989, p. 15.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXVI, September 29, 1989, p. 54.
The Washington Post Book World. XIX, November 19, 1989, p. 3.
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