43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Oustanding work tracing the politicization of the Court.,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Tempting of America (Paperback)
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"!