Robert Bork: With Elena Kagan, U.S. Moves Closer to Rule by “Committee of Ideologues”
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By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 23, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former U.S. Supreme Court nominee and conservative jurist Robert Bork warned Wednesday that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan should be opposed. He also said that the nomination of liberal activists to the Supreme Court showed the United States was drifting closer to rule by a “committee of ideologues.”
Bork was nominated by President Ronald Reagan for the Supreme Court in 1987, but violent opposition in the Senate to his strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and opposition to Roe v. Wade led to the demise of his confirmation hopes. In a conference call with reporters hosted by Americans United for Life, Bork said that Kagan’s vision of judicial power and its role can be seen in her adulation of former Israeli Chief Justice Aharon Barak, whom Kagan once called her “judicial hero.”
“It’s typical of young lawyers going into constitutional law that they have inflated dreams of what constitutional law can do, of what courts can do, and that usually wears off when times passes and they gain experience,” Bork told reporters. “But Miss Kagan has not yet had time to develop a mature philosophy of judging. I would say that her admiration for Barak, the Israeli Supreme Court Justice, is a prime example of that.”
“Barak may be the worst judge on the planet – one of the most activist judges,” continued Bork. The conservative jurist said that Barak used the court to create widespread and intrusive constitutional law in Israel “without having a constitution.”
“Mr. Barak is quite clear about whose values he is importing in the name of Democracy,” explained Bork. “He says that when fundamental values come in conflict with the views and values of the enlightened (and the enlightened turn out to be professors, journalists, and so forth – all of whom live in one area of Israel with the same postal code) he is quite dismissive of other views.”
Bork mentioned how Barak grabbed hold of the Basic Law of Human Dignity passed by the Israeli Knesset in 1992 “in middle of night, without quorum, and without any recognition of its constitutional nature” – meaning it should have had no legal force. But Barak treated it as a binding legal document, and inaugurated a constitutional revolution in Israel.
Bork explained that under Barak’s philosophy the court can judge any issue and can reorder Israel’s life in any way it sees fit. Barak’s philosophy says the courts authority only ends when issues are “non-justiciable.”
“Barack does not address the question of when all issues are held ‘justiciable’ – when the wielder of power becomes the court,” observed Bork. “We know now that when the wielder of power becomes the court, there is no one to say that the court should not do whatever it wants.”
That case, said Bork, was illustrated by Barak’s Supreme Court’s takeover of the Israeli attorney general’s office – a move Bork said robbed the Knesset and the government of the right to appeal and advance arguments the court did not like.
“I think if people understood it, that an American supreme court nominee was going to follow the example of Barak, they would have grave misgivings and probably refusal to confirm.”