The Senate: Closing the Book on Bork

Closing the Book on Bork

The final tally was even worse than anticipated for Supreme Court Nominee Robert Bork. After three days of acrimonious debate, the Senate took a vote that Bork himself had requested to cut off the vituperation. Result: 58-42 against confirmation, the largest negative vote in history for a Supreme Court nominee. Joining the 54 Senators who had declared their opposition to Bork were Wisconsin Democrat William Proxmire and three surprises: Virginia Republican John Warner, Georgia Democrat Sam Nunn and Mississippi Democrat John Stennis, the Senate's conservative senior member.

The White House was already looking beyond the preordained outcome. Chief of Staff Howard...