ORIGINAL TEXT

. . . Now before I leave, I would like to add a word on a subject that also has to do with America's future.

As all of you know, in July I nominated Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court.

Since then, Judge Bork has been the victim of a sophisticated campaign of smears and lies.

For example, a man who once put his career on the line to oppose discrimination in his own workplace -- courage I expect few of his opponents have ever found occasion to show -- has been termed a racist.

Washington Post columnist David Broder recently wrote of all this: "I have seen enough politics in my time to have lost my squeamishness. But watching these tactics applied to judges is scary."

He concludes, "It should send shivers down the spine of anyone who understands the role of the judiciary in this society."

Well, I agree.

A few liberal special interests have declared a war of conquest on the American system of justice.

This is one war none of us can afford to sit out.

The independence of our judiciary must not be compromised.

Some have told me to throw in the towel.

The special interests have won.

It's a lost cause.

You may remember in the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," when Jimmy Stewart stands in the well of the Senate and says that lost causes are "the only causes worth fighting for . . . . Because of one plain, simple rule, 'love thy neighbor . . . . ' "

And he added, "I'm going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause even if this room" -- he meant the Senate -- "is filled with lies . . . and the {special interests} come marching into this place."

So will I.

REVISED VERSION

. . . . There is another crossroads in this country and that is the debate under way in the United States Senate on the confirmation of judges to our nation's highest courts.

Washington Post columnist David Broder recently wrote of all this: "I have seen enough politics in my time to have lost my squeamishness. But watching these tactics applied to judges is scary."

He concludes, "It should send shivers down the spine of anyone who understands the role of the judiciary in this society."

Well, I agree. So does Judge Bork.

When I nominated Judge Robert Bork to the United States Supreme Court last July, I thought the confirmation process would go forward in a statesmanlike manner with a calm and sensible exchange of views.

This has not been the case.

Their hearings have been marred by distortions and innuendos.

Judge Bork and I agree that there are no illusions about the outcome of the vote in the Senate but we also agree a crucial principle is at stake.

That principle is the process that is used to determine the fitness of those men and women selected to serve on our courts -- and the ultimate decision will impact on each of us and each of our children if we don't undo what has already been done and see that that kind of performance is never repeated.