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Robert Bork, 1927 – 2012

Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1987.

Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1987.

Former federal judge and Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork passed away early Wednesday morning. He was 85 years old.

Family members who announced Judge Bork’s passing said he had a history of heart problems and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung condition, reports the Washington Times.

Among his achievements are Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice, and circuit judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

President Reagan with Judge Bork in 1987

President Reagan with Judge Bork in 1987

As Solicitor General, Bork was instrumental in the so-called “Saturday Night Massacre” of 1973. Bork carried out U.S. President Richard Nixon’s order to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, following Cox’s request for tapes of his Oval Office conversations, after several others higher up in the chain of command refused to do so.

Judge Bork is mostly remembered for his nomination to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Senate Democrats, led by Ted Kennedy, decimated his character so badly during nomination hearings that the term “bork” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in March 2002 to describe people who attack others “usually with the aim of preventing [a person's] appointment to public office.”

Bork, unhappy with his treatment in the nomination process, resigned his appellate-court judgeship in 1988.

Bork’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday.

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