Robert Bork dies
Bork died in a northern Virginia hospital where he had been treated for an infection, said Leonard Leo, executive vice-president of the conservative Federalist Society.
Nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1987, Bork was rejected by the Democratic-led U.S. Senate following debate over his conservative judicial philosophy. He became a potent symbol to conservatives.
"To bork" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2002 with the definition, "To defame or vilify (a person) systematically, especially in the mass media, usually with the aim of preventing his or her appointment to public office; to obstruct or thwart (a person) in this way."
Bork was already known to Americans as a figure in the Watergate scandal - the man who carried out Richard Nixon's order to fire the special prosecutor in 1973's "Saturday Night Massacre" - when he was nominated to the Supreme Court.
Within 45 minutes of his nomination on July 1, 1987, Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy took to the Senate floor to denounce him as a man who wanted to outlaw abortion, ban the teaching of evolution and revive racial segregation. Bork complained that not a line of the speech was accurate.
After a fierce confirmation fight, the Senate in October rejected Bork 58-42, the largest margin of defeat for any Supreme Court nominee and a big defeat for Reagan.
Bork remained bitter for years and conservatives regarded him as a martyr to liberal activism and unreason, and used him as a rallying cry in subsequent battles.
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