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Robert Bork, 1927-2012

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I didn't agree with him on the First Amendment, or some of the positions he took in his last 15 years, but if he did nothing but revolutionize antitrust, Dayenu. The injustice and character assassination done against him in 1987 was a watershed moment that changed American history and government for the worse, I fear irrevocably. A great man. [Podhoretz @ Commentary; Adler @ Volokh; Fed Soc Blog; Reuters; Steyn; Whelan]

I disagree with Steve Hayward that Bork's death today is ironic defeat for the left because it would have meant an Obama appointment instead of Justice Kennedy still sitting there occasionally voting for conservative principles. After all, a Court that had Bork instead of Kennedy would have gone the opposite way on 5-4 issues like capital punishment. Moreover, in the alternate history where President Reagan is able to muster Judge Bork to a confirmation notwithstanding the unfair attacks on him is the alternate history where President George H.W. Bush nominates Frank Easterbrook or Edith Jones to the Court instead of David Souter, and we see different results in some cases that went 6-3—perhaps even results that satiate the Christian right and galvanize the Democratic left, and swing the 2000 and/or 2004 elections for Al Gore. (Or maybe Clinton nominates Larry Tribe instead of Breyer, and his decisions move the Court left? A butterfly flaps its wings...)

Oddly, it is impossible to find The Antitrust Paradox on Amazon. Google searches lead to a completely different 1923 book on Huguenot emigration to America, though the reviews are for Bork's book. I hope some programmer didn't spitefully bury the book there so it wouldn't sell. (Update: available if you search Amazon for "Robert Bork." Very odd.)

(Updated to respond to Steve Hayward and add links.)

1 Comment

Comes up as the first hit for me if you search for "anti-trust" and "paradox". The first hit for a no-hypen antitrust paradox, again for me, is The History of the Huguenot Emigration to America which is listed on the search list as being by Robert H. Bork instead of Charles Washington Baird, the true author of that title. (Amazon searches may be customized-- a book on Hugenot emigration would fit into a list of other books Amazon knows I'm interested in.)

There's something a little wrong with Amazon's indexing of this title but to imply that some programmer would take time to bury a title (taking a chance s/he'd get caught) and that this would be the title to choose-- why go there? My guess is that a data entry person somewhere, not even necessarily at Amazon, used a hyphen where the title doesn't.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
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Manhattan Institute


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