Washington Secrets

Bork's final blast: Supremes are 'dangerous'

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

The just published final thoughts of conservative legal giant Robert Bork, blocked from the Supreme Court in a Democratic witch hunt, reveal his deep concerns that the high court has taken a turn for the worse and is a threat to American freedom

"We are now being ruled in some of our most crucial cultural and moral issues by judges who have acquired the power, but certainly not the authority, to take those decisions out of our hands," he frets in "Saving Justice," published after the longtime Constitutional authority died last December.

"With each issue it takes out of the hands of the people in order to please the elites, the Supreme Court moves from being what my friend Alex Bickel called 'the least dangerous branch of government,' to a place where it can lay fair claim to being the most dangerous," wrote Bork.

His book focuses mostly on his days during the Nixon administration, but he ends Saving Justice with the blast at the nation's judges and the Supreme Court.

"There is good reason to believe that this authoritarianism has become an inherent characteristic of most judges every since the time they realized the full extent of their power and their relative invulnerability. In that capacity, they continue their attack on the basic structure of the law by filling the categories of law with politics. Originalism provides hope that the constitutional structure of our country will be maintained," he concluded.

In the book, the Watergate-era solicitor general also revealed that former President Richard Nixon's August 1974 resignation would have come much earlier without the naming of two special prosecutors.

"The appointment of a special prosecutor probably delayed Nixon's exit from office," he wrote shortly before his death in the new autobiography "Saving Justice." The reason: It took valuable time to detail the department's case against Nixon to the two special prosecutors, Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski.

"Until the arrival of Archibald Cox, the investigation into the Watergate break-in had been conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington under the direction of Earl Silbert. Working assiduously, Silbert had much of the case already made by the time he handed Cox an 87-page memorandum summarizing his investigation's findings so far," wrote Bork. "It is fair to estimate that the material given to Cox composed 90 percent of the final case against Nixon."

Bork fired Cox in the famous "Saturday Night Massacre," one of the notable events being studied at several Washington venues this month, the 40th anniversary of the pivotal year in the Watergate probe.

Cox was appointed in May 1973. After he refused Nixon's October deal to get the famous Watergate tapes, the president ordered Justice to fire Cox. The attorney general and his No. 2 resigned instead, leaving it to Bork, who ended up being acting attorney general.

Bork considered quitting too, but felt that would let Nixon put a crony in charge of Justice, likely leading to mass resignations. So he stayed, fired Cox, and eventually moved back down the ladder when a new attorney general was confirmed.

Bork, most famous for the Democratic witch hunt that blocked his elevation to the Supreme Court, wrote that he didn't use the perks of the attorney general's office while he was acting AG. For example, he refused the government-supplied limo, saying, "I don't enjoy playing Queen for a day." Instead, he drove his old Volvo. Only two of four cylinders worked so "I had to take several runs to get the car up the ramp out of the department's garage."

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