Conservatives praise Bork as influential scholar

MCLEAN, Va. (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is remembering Robert Bork as "one of the most influential legal scholars of the past 50 years."

Bork, who won the admiration of conservatives during his unsuccessful fight to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice in 1987, died today at a hospital in northern Virginia. He was 85.

Bork's career included time as an attorney, a Yale Law School professor and a Republican political appointee. At Yale, two of his constitutional law students were Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham. Years later, Bork would joke that he no longer said they had been students -- only that they "were in the room."

He first gained national prominence when, as the third-ranking official at the Justice Department in 1973, he fired the Watergate special prosecutor under orders from Richard Nixon's White House.

After Ronald Reagan nominated him to be a Supreme Court justice, Bork was attacked from the left for his conservative writings. Sen. Edward Kennedy said, "In Robert Bork's America there is no room at the inn for blacks and no place in the Constitution for women." He was defeated in the Senate, 58 to 42.

From that battle emerged a verb, to "bork," meaning to vilify a nominee on ideological grounds.

A longtime friend says Bork was "embittered" by the experience, and that he became even more conservative.

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139-w-36-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent, with archve sound of Robert Bork)--A federal judge whose nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected has died. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. (19 Dec 2012)

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140-a-13-(Robert Bork, former Supreme Court nominee, in interview on July 22, 1990)-"answer those questions"-In an interview in 1990, former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork said future nominees should not get specific during their confirmation hearings. ((cut used in wrap)) (19 Dec 2012)

<<CUT *140 (12/19/12)>> 00:13 "answer those questions"

APPHOTO WX206: FILE - In this May 18, 1998 file photo, Robert Bork, a lobbyist for Netscape, meets reporters at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss the suit filed by the Justice Department and 20 state governments against Microsoft charging the software giant with using unfair tactics to crush competition and restrict choice for consumers. Robert H. Bork, who stepped in to fire the Watergate prosecutor at Richard Nixon's behest and whose failed 1980s nomination to the Supreme Court helped draw the modern boundaries of cultural fights over abortion, civil rights and other issues, has died. He was 85. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh (18 May 1998)

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APPHOTO WX204: FILE - In this Sept. 16, 1987 file photo, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill. Robert Bork, whose failed Supreme Court nomination made history, has died. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi) (16 Sep 1987)

<<APPHOTO WX204 (09/16/87)>>

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