Half the nation's judges support confirming U.S. Appeals Court Judge Robert H. Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court, with another 24 percent opposed to Bork and 26 percent uncertain, according to a National Law Journal poll.
The poll of 405 randomly selected federal and state court judges found them almost evenly split on whether the Senate should take into account a judicial nominee's political philosophy, with 46 percent saying the Senate should and 48 percent saying it should not.
Although 58 percent of the judges said they support abortion rights, only 44 percent said they think that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling that women have a constitutional right to abortion, was correctly decided.
Another 18 percent said they think that Roe was wrongly decided but that it should not be overturned because of the importance of adhering to precedent. Seventeen percent said the case was wrong and should be reversed.
Interviewed in the poll, which is to appear in Monday's edition of The National Law Journal, were 348 state court judges and 57 federal district and circuit court judges.
Nearly half the judges, 47 percent, described themselves as moderate-to-conservative, and 31 percent said they are liberal-to-moderate. Six percent described themselves as liberal, and nine percent as conservative.
Only nine percent of the judges said they strongly agree with Attorney General Edwin Meese III's view that judges should adhere to the doctrine of original intent in intepreting the Constitution, while 34 percent strongly disagreed. In addition, 29 percent of the judges said they agreed "somewhat" with Meese's views and 23 percent said they disagreed somewhat.
Asked which Supreme Court justice they most admire, 22 percent of the judges cited Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Both Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., who recently retired, were named by 15 percent.
Eight percent named Bryon R. White, 6 percent named John Paul Stevens, 5 percent named Sandra Day O'Connor, 4 percent named Antonin Scalia and 3 percent named Thurgood Marshall.