Robert BorkRobert H. Bork (born March 1, 1927) is a renowned legal scholar.
He is known for his willingness to carry out U.S. President Richard Nixon's order to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox following Cox's request of tapes of Oval Office conversations. Nixon's Attorney General Elliot Richardson and next in line Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus left office rather than carry out that order. (The event became known as the "Saturday Night Massacre".) Bork, next in line, promptly fired Cox. Ultimately, Nixon's coverup failed when the Supreme Court ordered the tapes be reviewed.
Although labeled a conservative, Robert Bork insisted that the Constitution be interpreted objectively based on the Framer's intentions. He was an activist for judicial restraint, reiterating that it was the Court's task to adjudicate, not to legislate, from the bench.
Bork became a U.S. Appeals Court Judge, and was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court. Earlier, he had attacked, on the basis that there was no Constitutional right to privacy, a 1965 Supreme Court decision that struck down a Connecticut law which banned the use of contraceptives, even by married couples. This position perhaps forshadowed his conversion to Catholicism and reception into the Catholic Church in 2003.
After a contentious battle in the Senate, Bork was not confirmed.
Republicans, asserting he had been treated unfairly, invented a verb from his name: to be borked is to be roughly treated at a congressional hearing.
Following his rejection, he became a Fellow at the American Enterprise Institution for Public Policy Research.