Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) accused Democratic leaders yesterday of engaging in an almost unprecedented "stall" in acting on the Supreme Court nomination of Appeals Court Judge Robert H. Bork and suggested that President Reagan might be justified in placing Bork on the court while Congress is in recess.

In a speech to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Indianapolis, Dole noted that the Constitution empowers the president to make temporary "recess appointments" without Senate confirmation to fill court vacancies.

However, he added that he does not favor such a course and called instead for the Senate to "move more quickly" toward a vote on the Bork nomination.

Dole's remarks, which were released by his Senate office, were part of a drumbeat of Republican criticism of the Bork confirmation schedule that has been announced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.). Dole's suggestion of a "recess appointment" of Bork appeared aimed largely at keeping pressure on Biden to expedite the committee hearings, scheduled to begin Sept. 15, and to discourage Democrats from attempting to kill the nomination with a filibuster at the end of Congress' first session.

The speech was also another sign that Dole, an unannounced candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, intends to play a leading role in the Bork confirmation fight, putting him in a highly visible confrontation with Biden, a Democratic presidential contender.

Under a recess appointment between congressional sessions, Bork would be eligible to serve on the court without Senate confirmation through the end of the 100th Congress next year. There have been 15 recess appointments in the court's history, although only five of these justices took their seats on the court before being confirmed.

Dole stressed that he was not advocating a recess appointment but wanted to provide "some food for thought" for Biden. He said Biden "has been trying mightily to stall the Bork nomination or, failing that, to generate opposition to the nomination on the basis of Judge Bork's so-called ideology."

At a news conference in Iowa, Biden dismissed the timing issue and said a recess appointment would only hurt Bork's chances of gaining Senate confirmation. "Dole is playing politics with this," he said, repeating a pledge to hold "thorough, full and expeditious" hearings.

Biden, who has pledged to lead opposition to Bork, has said he expects the issue to be ready by Oct. 1 for Senate debate, the same target date for floor debate favored by GOP leaders. However, Biden has rejected a Republican demand that hearings begin Aug. 31 -- during Congress' month-long summer recess -- and that his committee vote on the nomination by Sept. 15.

In his speech, Dole said Bork's commitment to "judicial restraint" should be welcomed by elected legislators, "who ought to be allowed to {legislate} without federal judges second-guessing us every time we cast a vote." While the Supreme Court on occasion "has to give the legislative branch a good kick in the pants," over the years legislative bodies have been reformed and improved, Dole argued.

"We are more diverse, better informed and more representative than ever before," he said. "We are, in short, ready -- ready to be entrusted with the decisions that affect our constituents most intimately, including decisions on education, criminal justice and social welfare. And that's what Judge Bork is all about."

Bork has publicly criticized the Supreme Court's landmark 1962 "one-man, one-vote" decision, which is widely credited with having forced state legislatures to become more representative.