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Slouching From Gomorrah: Remembering Robert Bork

Judge Robert Bork

Judge Robert Bork

It has been a couple of weeks since the death of Robert Bork, which occurred shortly before Christmas and didn’t really get the news coverage that Bork merited.

Bork died at age 85. In 1987, he became a national headline when President Ronald Reagan nominated him to the Supreme Court. He was a judicial conservative, a “strict constructionist.” He warned about the road America was embarking upon in neglecting its Constitutional principles, and saw doom and gloom ahead. He was grimly pessimistic about America generally, dreading modern liberalism’s grip on the nation. Liberalism, Bork insisted, was pushing America toward decline. We were headed to hell in a hand-basket. A decade after his failed confirmation, Bork authored a bestselling book tellingly titled, ”Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline.”

Bork had seen liberalism up close and full throttle—and at its open-throated angriest. During his unsuccessful confirmation hearings in 1987, he was plainly smeared. He was hysterically and unfairly portrayed by radical abortion feminists and the likes of Senator Ted Kennedy as an abuser and assaulter of women—a Neanderthal, a kind of political/cultural gargoyle. Liberals demonized Bork and railroaded his nomination, ushering in a whole new incivility and politicization to the judicial nomination process. Liberal journalists literally dug through Bork’s trash looking for anything to attack the man; they went to the nearby video store to find out what he rented.

Hmmm,” they rubbed their hands together hopefully, “any X-rated flicks, Judge Bork?”

Alas, that wasn’t Robert Bork’s universe. They learned that Bork had an affinity not for pornographic film but for “Fred and Ginger” movies.

Hah,” they hissed, “what a square!”

The left’s assault on Bork was unhinged, a precursor of behavior to come with later judges they disliked, particularly pro-life judges. Liberals were so nasty to Bork that the man’s name has become a verb: When liberals today vilify a conservative Supreme Court nominee, like a Clarence Thomas, we say that the nominee has been “Borked.”

The tributes to Bork at the time of his death revisited this sordid history. But none, to my knowledge, focused on the area where, sadly, I believe he was most prophetic—namely, his pessimism about American life and culture.

I never met Bork to discuss that pessimism, but a former Grove City College student of mine did. It was about 10 years ago. I was speaking at Ave Maria University School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My former student, Mark, was there. He was taking a class that semester with Judge Bork. He shared with me a dose of the usual Bork cynicism. Looking to buoy Bork a bit, my student optimistically told the judge that America’s future looked good because of promising demographics. He noted that committed evangelicals and orthodox Roman Catholics were having lots of children, whereas secular leftists were not. Surely, he assured Bork, this boded well for the culture, or at least the kind of culture Bork desired.

“No, no,” disagreed Bork. The judge conceded the positive demographics but noted that most of these evangelicals and Catholics send their kids to colleges dominated by these secular liberals, where all the ideals and values the youngsters learned at home and at their churches is rapidly undermined in four years—with the faithful parents unwittingly paying for the undermining. In short order, these conservative Christians support abortion and gay rights.

“We’re doomed,” Bork assured my student. America was on the road to Gomorrah.

Unfortunately, I think Robert Bork was exactly right.

For today’s liberals, who call themselves “progressives,” support for abortion has morphed into forcing fellow taxpayers to pay for it—and they plainly smear those who think otherwise as favoring a “war on women.” Their support for gay rights has morphed into gay marriage—with accompanying vitriol slung at anyone who disagrees.

Robert Bork was a man ahead of his time.

Judge Robert Bork, rest in peace—far away from the shores of Gomorrah.

[Editor’s note: a convert to the Catholic faith, Judge Bork joined the Catholic Church, July 21, 2003.]


Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He is also co-author (with Patricia Clark Doerner) of The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007).
  • goral

    As Catholics we have reason to be optimistic because our future is in the Lord.
    Our present, however, is here and we also posses reason. Our reason and record shows that we are in fact doomed. Gomorrah is here.

    We just witnessed a perverse election where all reason was scuttled.
    The state that was named after Our Lady, recently fell to the fags.
    We have to be smart and sober and not starry-eyed about our nation.
    There is no optimism warranted until we stop feeding the great satan with
    out tax money.

    This relationship has to be severed, the other options, to set things right, have effectively been neutralized.

  • “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” It’s still sad to watch it happen, though.

  • Noel Fitzpatrick

    I read here that “We’re doomed,” Bork assured my student.
    America was on the road to Gomorrah.

    Does anyone really believe that America is the new Gomorrah? In the US the rule of law prevails and with a supreme court of six Catholics and three Jews, and not a WASP in site, the country is in good hands.

    I remember the decent hard-working, honest family people I worked with when I was
    in the States. I cannot believe they have all gone and been replaced by those who practise the customs of Gomorrah.

  • BillinJax

    There should be a name for these people who claim to be Catholic and
    consistently vote for candidates who espouse the abolition of every moral value
    and precept held by the Church as essential to our faith. I am told there are
    also Christians of other denominations who fall into the same category of
    misguided or misinformed loyal subjects of big government.

    How long will it take for us to admit Christian values had to be dismantled
    and our sacred trust in gospel truth had to be distorted if evil could ever enter
    our ranks disguised somehow as promoting tolerance, fairness, or social justice?
    This is exactly how it always happens.

    In this case Progressive Liberalism posing as a benevolent arm of
    government took over the once proud party of the poor man turning the
    Democratic machine into the mouthpiece for the clever perversion of Christian
    charity. How else could we have ever come to the new normal where mothers are
    given the RIGHT to kill their babies?

    Virginity and chastity are now considered weird scruples of the past and
    the sanctity of marriage is irrelevant with most couples living together until
    they feel comfortable with the arrangement. Parents today send their children
    off to government schools where they are indoctrinated into accepting the
    notion that what they are being taught may be contrary to what their mothers
    and fathers think or believe but they should be thankful because this is a new
    and enlightened age they are becoming a part of which offers freedom from the
    constraints of outdated moral concepts.

    Christians who are either actually unaware of these facts or have chosen to
    ignore the obvious change in direction our nation are not followers of Christ,
    they are wanderers in the wilderness of worldly confusion and delusion
    purposely constructed for them by the prince of darkness and his legions of
    elitists who have bought into the humanistic myth of a godless Utopia.

    Maybe that is what we should call the lost or wandering Christians of today,
    Christians Looking for Utopia on Earth less Christ or…….. CLUEless.