Here is the statement Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork made at the White House yesterday:
More than three months ago, I was deeply honored to be nominated by the president for the position of associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
In the 100 days since then, the country has witnessed an unprecedented event. The process of confirming justices for our nation's highest court has been transformed in a way that should not and indeed must not be permitted to occur again.
The tactics and techniques of national political campaigns have been unleashed on the process of confirming judges. That is not simply disturbing, it is dangerous.
Federal judges are not appointed to decide cases according to the latest opinion polls. They are appointed to decide cases impartially, according to law.
But when judicial nominees are assessed and treated like political candidates, the effect will be to chill the climate in which judicial deliberations take place, to erode public confidence in the impartiality of courts and to endanger the independence of the judiciary.
In politics, the opposing candidates exchange contentions in their efforts to sway voters. In the give and take of political debate, the choice will, in the end, be clear.
A judge, however, cannot engage. Political campaigning and the judge's functions are flatly incompatible.
In 200 years, no nominee for justice has ever campaigned for that high office. None ever should, and I will not.
This is not to say that my public life, the decisions I have rendered, the articles I have written, should be immune from consideration. They should not.
Honorable persons can disagree about those matters, but the manner in which the campaign is conducted makes all the difference.
Far too often the ethics that should prevail have been violated, and the facts of my professional life have been misrepresented.
It is, to say no more, unsatisfying to be the target of a campaign that must, of necessity, be one-sided, a campaign in which the "candidate," a sitting federal judge, is prevented by the plain standards of his profession from becoming an energetic participant.
Were the fate of Robert Bork the only matter at stake, I would ask the president to withdraw my nomination.
The most serious and lasting injury in all of this, however, is not me. Nor is it to all of those who have steadfastly supported my nomination and to whom I am deeply grateful. Rather, it is to the dignity and the integrity of law and of public service in this country.
I therefore wish to end the speculation. There should be a full debate and a final Senate decision. In deciding on this course, I harbor no illusions.
But a crucial principle is at stake. That principle is the way we select the men and women who guard the liberties of all the American people. That should not be done through public campaigns of distortion. If I withdraw now, that campaign would be seen as a success and it would be mounted against future nominees.
For the sake of the federal judiciary and the American people, that must not happen. The deliberative process must be restored. In the days remaining, I ask only that voices be lowered, the facts respected and the deliberations conducted in a manner that will be fair to me and to the infinitely larger and more important cause of justice in America.