You make a dead man cum

Jeffrey Rosen administers (h/t Elia Isquith) some posthumous TLC to the 20th century’s greatest legal mind:

Before the hearings, Robert Bork had been renowned at Yale Law School, where he taught for nearly two decades, not only for his influence on antitrust and constitutional law, but for his ideological open-mindedness: many students of his era fondly remember the seminar he co-taught with his closest friend on the faculty, the liberal constitutional scholar (and TNR legal editor) Alexander Bickel, which featured affectionate bipartisan debates. After Bickel criticized his conservative jurisprudence in one class, Bork replied, “You’ll notice that my colleague’s elegant theories of jurisprudence are a cross between Edmund Burke and Fiddler on the Roof.” TNR was said to be Bork’s favorite journal at the time, and in 1968 he wrote a piece for this magazine, “Why I Am for Nixon,” praising the Republican presidential candidate as the true heir of classical liberalism.

Burke and Fiddler on the Roof. Dear Bieber, I hope the Mayans are right.

12 replies
  1. 1
    The Dangerman says:

    Sunrise Sunset

  2. 2
    Smc says:

    cool Stones reference for an unhip figure.

  3. 3
    brettvk says:

    Jeez, even the liberal New Republic is apologizing to Bork. Never saw that one coming.

    Is Rosen angling for a pundit perch at the NYT?

  4. 4
    Joel says:

    Jay Rosen should make Jeff Rosen change his name.

  5. 5
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @brettvk:

    That or a sinecure at Pravda on the Potomac, with an office next to that Rubin woman.

  6. 6
    Arclite says:

    Ironically, Nixon’s policies turned out to be somewhat liberal.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    many students of his era fondly remember the seminar he co-taught with his closest friend on the faculty, the liberal constitutional scholar (and TNR legal editor) Alexander Travis Bickel….

    There, that sounds about right.

    Only Bork would love the Taxi Driver.

  8. 8
    John Weiss says:

    Bork sucked.

  9. 9
    liberal says:

    @brettvk:

    Jeez, even the liberal New Republic is apologizing to Bork.

    Is that tongue in cheek? There’s a chapter in Eric Alterman’s devoted to tht very phrase “even the New Republic…”

    To wit: it hasn’t been a truly liberal magazine since the mid-1970s, when Peretz purchased the magazine.

  10. 10
    Fred says:

    Bork, the guy who’s total lack of moral backbone or just plain lack of morals, took his orders from Dick Nixon and fired the special prosecutor instead of resigning like all of his superiors had. That little affair should have been the ONLY question at his confirmation hearing. He vas only followink orters.
    As some wise person recently said, “Bork sucked.”

  11. 11
    David in NY says:

    Bickel was a liberal? Maybe in the usage of the word, “Even the liberal New Republic ….” But I remember his jurisprudence as distinctly conservative (“The Least Dangerous Branch” — essentially a treatise on how the Warren Court had gone too far).

    Of course, in comparison to Bork, and the current conservative five on the Court, Bickel was “liberal” but only in the sense that he thought the Court should defer to Congress, and not, like the Lochner court, search for ways to defeat congressional measures. I suppose he would be attacking the conservatives on the Court for the concerted way in which they have been invalidating laws passed by Congress, but that doesn’t make him very liberal in the end. He’d probably blame it all on Earl Warren.

  12. 12
    manwith7talents says:

    “You’ll notice that my colleague’s elegant theories of jurisprudence are a cross between Edmund Burke and Fiddler on the Roof.”

    What the hell does that even mean?

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