Robert H. Bork, a Yale Law School professor of public law, was appointed solicitor general by President Nixon in 1973 and became acting attorney general that October during the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre." Nixon, worried by Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox's demands for the tapes of his Oval Office conversations, ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson resigned rather than carry out the order, as did Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus. Nixon then turned to Bork, the number three official in the Justice Department, who carried out his wishes and fired Cox. Bork would defend his actions as within the scope of presidential authority. Nine months later, the Supreme Court ruled that Nixon had to turn over the tapes.
Bork went on to become a conservative hero. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In 1987, Reagan nominated him for the Supreme Court. After contentious hearings, Senate Democrats, still bothered by his role in the Saturday Night massacre and wary of his conservative philosophy, rejected his nomination. Bork resigned his judgeship in 1988 and joined the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, where he became a leading voice for neo-conservatism. In 2003, he left AEI for the Hudson Institute. He is currently a professor at the Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Bork has written several books, including "Slouching Toward Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline" in 1996 and "The Tempting of America: the Political Seduction of the Law" in 1989.
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