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Remarks Announcing the Nomination of Robert H. Bork To Be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

July 01, 1987

The President. Well, let me announce in advance that I am making a brief announcement here, and then the judge and I are going to depart. And I won't say to you, "No questions." I know better than that, having been in here before. There will be no answers.

Reporter. You'll take lots of questions.

The President. Well, it's with great pleasure and deep respect for his extraordinary abilities that I today announce my intention to nominate United States Court of Appeals Judge Robert H. Bork to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Judge Bork is recognized as a premier constitutional authority. His outstanding intellect and unrivaled scholarly credentials are reflected in his thoughtful examination of the broad, fundamental legal issues of our times. When confirmed by the Senate as an appellate judge in 1982, the American Bar Association gave him its highest rating: "exceptionally well qualified." On the bench, he has been well prepared, evenhanded, and openminded.

In taking this action today, I'm mindful of the importance of this nomination. The Supreme Court of the United States is the custodian of our Constitution. Justices of the Supreme Court must not only be jurists of the highest competence; they must be attentive to the specific rights guaranteed in our Constitution and proper role of the courts in our democratic system.

Judge Bork, widely regarded as the most prominent and intellectually powerful advocate of judicial restraint, shares my view that judges' personal preferences and values should not be part of their constitutional interpretations. The guiding principle of judicial restraint recognizes that under the Constitution it is the exclusive province of the legislatures to enact laws and the role of the courts to interpret them. We're fortunate to be able to draw upon such an impressive legal mind, an experienced judge and a man who already has devoted so much of his life to public service. He'll bring credit to the Court and his colleagues, as well as to his country and the Constitution.

Justice Lewis Powell, in announcing his retirement, said the courts should not be hampered by operating at less than full strength. And with this in mind, I urge the Senate to expedite its consideration of Judge Bork so the Court will have nine Justices when its October term begins. And I have every expectation that it will do so.

Note: The President spoke at 2:30 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks Announcing the Nomination of Robert H. Bork To Be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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