Washington Post columnist David Broder recalled a conversation he had with Democrat Mark Pryor during Sam Alito's confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court in 2005. Pryor – who's on the Senate Judiciary Committee – complained that the Alito hearings soon turned in a discussion about Robert Bork's confirmation process. Last week, Broder asked Pryor if he expected the same at Sotomayor's hearings. Senator Pryor said, "The country has moved way beyond Bork," and he hopes the Senate has, too.
Senator Pryor is wrong. Liberals since FDR have stacked the courts with activist judges – to achieve policy victories they could never win at the ballot box. When President Reagan nominated Robert Bork – who opposes judicial activism – Ted Kennedy led the all-out assault to oppose Bork, and preserve activism.
Since Bork, the left has attacked other qualified non-activist jurists. Clarence Thomas, Miguel Estrada, Janice Rogers Brown, Charles Pickering, Jeff Sessions, Sam Alito, and Chief Justice Roberts, to name a few. Each was opposed by a well-funded coalition of liberals, who stop at nothing – including campaigns built on lies, false charges of racism, and smears. Barack Obama voted against Sam Alitio and Justice Roberts, openly stating that the determining criterion should be "values," not judicial qualifications.
So, no, Senator Pryor – we have not "moved beyond Bork." And we won't "move beyond Bork" until liberal activists move beyond trying to stack the decks – and until the rule of law is returned to America's courts.