Wednesday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow offered a eulogy of sorts for conservative icon Judge Robert Bork, whose extreme right-wing views made him too conservative for a U.S. Supreme Court that has made bench room for men like Justice Antonin Scalia. Bork passed away on Wednesday at the age of 85.
She bagan with a moment from Bork’s 1987 Senate confirmation hearing. Bork ruled in favor of West Virginia’s American Cyanamid Company, a chemical firm that ordered female employees to get sterilized or quit their jobs because of potential hazards to the women’s unborn children. Ohio Democratic Senator Howard Metzenbaum said of Bork, “You are not a frightening man, but you are a man with frightening views.”
Metzenbaum called Bork’s ruling in the case “a shocking decision.”
“That really happened. Here,” Maddow said. “A federal judge upholding a corporation’s right to fire employees if they do not submit to being sterilized. That happened, and not that long ago.”
She went on to recall Bork’s role in the Watergate scandal, when, at President Nixon’s behest, Bork fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox because Nixon didn’t want to be investigated.
“There are some things that have happened in modern American politics that still seem impossible to believe,” Maddow said.
And when these things happen in the realm of higher law, she said, they tend to be involved with the name “Judge Robert Bork.” Not only did he rule in favor of a corporation sterilizing its female employees, against racial integration, against free speech as applied to criticism of the government and on and on.
“As I said,” she concluded, “Judge Bork has died today at the age of 85 and is being celebrated on the political right that came to celebrate him almost as a hero, came to almost worship him, politically. But for the rest of the country, Judge Bork’s legacy serves as a reminder of what might have been.”
Bork, she said, was named as a key adviser to the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), who, had he won the election, would purportedly have been turning to Bork for judicial advice.
Watch the video, embedded below via MSNBC: