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The Tempting of America [Kindle Edition]

Robert H. Bork
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Judge Bork shares a personal account of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on his nomination as well as his view on politics versus the law.

In The Tempting of America, one of our most distinguished legal minds offers a brilliant argument for the wisdom and necessity of interpreting the Constitution according to the “original understanding” of the Framers and the people for whom it was written.

Widely hailed as the most important critique of the nation’s intellectual climate since The Closing of the American Mind, The Tempting of America illuminates the history of the Supreme Court and the underlying meaning of constitutional controversy. Essential to understanding the relationship between values and the law, it concludes with a personal account of Judge Bork’s chillingly emblematic experiences during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on his Supreme Court nomination.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The controversial Supreme Court nominee discusses American law, arguing that the elected legislature's role, as defined by the Constitution, is being usurped by a politically motivated intellectual minority.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Bork portrays the Senate's rejection of his nomination to the Supreme Court as one skirmish in a broader battle over the political role of American judges. For a journalist's account of the nomination uproar, see Ethan Bronner's Battle for Justice: How the Bork Nomination Shook America ( LJ 9/1/89).-- Ed. On one side, Bork claims, are those who--regardless of personal convictions--adhere to the intentions of the Founding Fathers in interpreting the U.S. Constitution. Arrayed against them are various liberal groups and their allies in the law schools, who disdain the political process and promote judicial lawmaking to achieve their goals. Bork convincingly demonstrates that some opponents of his confirmation distorted his record and his views. However, in refusing to admit the good faith of opposing scholars, he does little to encourage dialog on constitutional interpretation.
- G. Alan Tarr, Rutgers Univ., Camden, N.J.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2183 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (November 24, 2009)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,428 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Robert Bork has written a masterpiece defending the "original understanding" of the American constitution as the ONLY valid approach to constitutional understanding. In his introduction, Bork describes how American institutions have struggled with the temptation of politics and egalitarian outcomes. He sets the tone with the following passage:
"In law, the moment of temptation is the moment of choice, when a judge realizes that in the case before him his strongly held view of justice, his political and moral imperative, is not embodied in a statute or in any provision of the Constitution. He must then choose between his version of justice and abiding by the American form of government. Yet the desire to do justice, whose nature seems to him obvious, is compelling, while the concept of constitutional process is abstract, rather arid, and the abstinence it counsels unsatisfying. To give in to temptation, this one time, solves an urgent human problem, and a faint crack appears in the American foundation. A judge has begun to rule where a legislator should."
Judge Bork traces many movements of the Supreme Court from its beginning, through the new deal and into the Warren, Burger and Rehnquist courts, focusing on the slow slide away from original understanding the framers intended. He then devotes several chapters to original understanding, objections to original understanding and various alternative constructions to original understanding. He completes the book with an examination of the political processes mobilized to keep him from being appointed to the Court by President Reagan. I'm no lawyer, and hardly a major student of the constitution. Still, I found this a compelling book which I pick up again and again. I must agree with the Chicago Tribune's review, "A conservative legal classic"!
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
How I wish I had read this book before I took con law. Not only would it have been good preparation, but it would also have given me the ammunition to argue positions that I felt where intuitively correct. Even at my school, the Constitution is presented to students loaded with assumptions the framers never had in mind. And although I think that, given the political reality of the world, our professors would be doing us a disservice if they didn't present it so, it is still hard to reconcile the discrepancies that surface while staying within the parameters of modern constitutional thought. Robert Bork masterfully and eloquently blows away all the false assumptions and everything begins to make sense.
This book is truly a classic of American legal thought. It is the best argument for an original intent understanding of the Constitution that I have ever read. Bork also illustrates the politicization of our law in vivid detail by recounting his nomination for a seat on the Supreme Court and his defeat in the Senate. Still, though I understand the the slippery slope concomitant with looking beyond the four corners of the Constitution, Bork couldn't convince me that the Ninth Amendment is superfluous.
Everyone in law school should read this; especially before taking con law. You'll thank me for the tip!
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
To make a long story short, the media did an first-rate hatchet job (one of the best of all time) in painting this balanced, admittedly conservative (judicial restraint etc.), and extremely fair minded jurist as some sort of crazy, backwards racist. Judge Bork has more legal acumen than several justices sitting on the Court right now. His clear and concise overview of substantive due process and the slippery slope of unwarranted judicial expansion that began with Lochner v. New York (where the Court overturned a state law which set hourly labor standards) to Griswold v. Conn., which created a "right to privacy" out of thin air, is basic Constitutional Law 101 that even non-lawyers or the general public should be familiar with. Bork makes in this book the same case that he was simply unable to fully articulate on TV and in the Senate confirmation hearings: The Constitution gives the power of the Judicial Branch to interpret, not to make the law. It sounds plain enough, but when you read this, you (should)realize that one of the all-time biggest media smears caused an injustice to be done to this wise judge.
Bork is dry in spots here, but certainly not as dry as your average law school textbook or basic court opinion.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Defense of Original Understanding November 30, 2000
This book has forever changed how I look at the judicial branch of government, namely by showing that the greatest threat to the rule of law in the United States occurs when the judiciary takes on legislative functions.
As Robert Bork explains in this book, there are key differences between legislators and judges which make it vital that judges do not usurp legislative authority. When the judiciary creates the law instead of merely applying it, democratic representative government is replaced by judicial oligarchy. Because Supreme Court judges are unelected, appointed for life, and exercise a governmental power which is virtually unchecked, their decisions can threaten the rule of law when the justices choose to depart from the law in favor of their own moral philosophies.
Robert Bork presents a litmus test for all judges to use when extrapolating legal principles from legislation and the Constitution: these principles must be neutrally derived, neutrally defined, and neutrally applied. This doesn't mean that the Constitution itself or other legislation is neutral, but it does mean that when judges hear a case, they must defer their personal moral philosophies to the rule of law. The law must provide the standard of neutrality which the judge is to apply, not the judge's own subjective views.
This book is a masterpiece of judicial analysis. Robert Bork not only builds an excellent case for his thesis, but addresses the major arguments against his thesis in a way that bolsters his argument's credibility. This book examines the phenomenon of judicial activism superbly, not only offering criticism, but presenting a logical solution.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 5 months ago by Curtis Ackeret
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this book to understand the Supreme Court
In 1987, President Ronald Wilson Reagan nominated Judge Robert H. Bork to the United States Supreme Court. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kurt A. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Every American needs to read - - this is a timeless legal education document of the highest order.
Published 8 months ago by Randal C. Fritz
5.0 out of 5 stars This book NEEDS to be read by all college students!
Shockingly accurate. I never knew this side of government in America. The judicial branches are not what our founding fathers intended anymore.
Published 11 months ago by lina
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything he predicted has come true!
The Dems "Borked" this wonderful individual just because he was true to his upstanding principles. Shame on Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, and the rest of the bums.
Published 12 months ago by John G Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Formerly, America's leading legal scholar.
Reading Robert Bork is a journey into "What might have been?", if he had been elected to the Supreme Court rather than being 'Borked' by Ted Kennedy and his liberal... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Ronald E. Iden
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tempting of America
An outstanding presentation and a book that all Americans [and others] should read and
consider presented in understandable language!
Richard Ragland
Published 23 months ago by Richard N. Ragland
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tempting of America [Paperback]
This book should be required reading in every high school and college in the country. If Glen Beck ever read this book he would need at least two full rolls of Duck Tape.
Published on May 2, 2013 by Stephen Erwin
THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN ON THE CONSTITUTION AND THE LEGIT ROLE OF JUDGES IN OUR SOCIETY. The negative reviews for this book are as worthless as the torrent of lies about... Read more
Published on April 8, 2013 by Liti-Gator
5.0 out of 5 stars This person was brilliant, sad he was never on the Supreme Court.
Very good book. A brilliant mind, interesting to see how he thought during his career. We really missed out, but we can learn from the Senate's mistake.
Published on January 10, 2013 by Jeffrey Guy
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