You know, I don’t dispute what Phil Nugent says about Henry Hyde insofar as he’s critiquing Henry Hyde. But I don’t think that’s the symbolic turning point in the modern Republican party. I’d vote for the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court.
What we know is, of course, he got “Borked.” And everyone wrung their hands over how he got mistreated. Let’s even grant that point. You know what, though?
This is the guy who fired Archibald Cox.
Finally, the President turned to Solicitor General Robert H. Bork, who by law becomes acting Attorney General when the Attorney General and deputy attorney general are absent, and he carried out the President’s order to fire Cox.
Remember, Elliott Richardson wouldn’t do it. William Ruckelshaus wouldn’t do it. Those guys were Republicans. But, they thought, they wouldn’t obstruct justice, not today, anyway.
Bork would, though.
Flash forward a couple decades, and the guy’s fit to serve on the Supreme Court, except the Democrats were mean about his maybe stance on abortion.
This is simple. You want to make an argument about Bork? The man was unfit for the Court because he obeyed Nixon and stood in the way of the processes of the law, unlike two of his higher minded Republican colleagues. At the very least, that puts him on the Executive Branch team, and indicates he’s uncareful about legal procedure. In other words, not a great jurist.
Something happened between the Saturday Night Massacre and the Bork nomination, where the guy who helped engineer one of the most shameful episodes and indeed colossal public-relations disasters of Watergate, becomes a Republican martyr.