President Reagan, taking aim at senators who have warned of a bitter confrontation over the nomination of Appeals Court Judge Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court, urged lawmakers yesterday to "keep politics out of the confirmation process."
Reagan, in his radio address from Camp David, began his campaign to get Bork confirmed in time for the high court's new session, which begins in October.
"Judge Bork is recognized by his colleagues and peers as a brilliant legal scholar and a fair-minded jurist who believes his role is to interpret the law, not make it," Reagan said.
"As a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Judge Bork has always heard each case with an open mind, following the law and legal precedent, not his personal preferences," the president said.
Reagan's nomination of the conservative Bork has set the stage for a lengthy debate in the Senate over the nominee.
On Friday, Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) announced that he will filibuster Bork's confirmation unless Bork drops his opposition to the court's 1973 decision ensuring women's right to an abortion.
Reagan named Bork on Wednesday as his choice to replace Lewis F. Powell Jr., who retired.
"To maintain the independence of the judiciary, I hope we can keep politics out of the confirmation process and promptly schedule hearings," Reagan said, adding, "the American people deserve a Supreme Court with nine justices operating at full strength."