Former US Supreme Court nominee and Batman enemy King Tut lookalike Robert Bork showed up in two unrelated news items in today’s blog reading.
First (via Jim Henley) he’s helping out Scooter Libby by arguing that Patrick Fitzgerald’s appointment might not have been constitutional. As blogger emptywheel points out on the other end of that link, it’s thirty-four years after the Saturday Night Massacre, and Bork’s once again trying to fire a guy investing a Republican White House. (If history repeats itself, Bush’s impeachment proceedings should start next March.)
But the case I really wanted to blog about was this: Bork’s suing the Yale Society for a million dollars because he fell trying to mount a dais to speak at one of their events. This is funny (both weird and ha-ha) because Bork’s one of those anti-tort activists who thinks there should be limits on how much people can sue for.
Which is itself funny (just weird) because Bork’s also well-known as an originalist on Constitutional matters — he supposedly believes that the Supreme Court should interpret the Constitution as the Framers would have meant it to be read. But he’s willing to compromise that principle for the sake limiting non-incorporated people’s right to financial redress. Here’s Bork in 2002, writing in a Federalist Society journal:
Even if Congress would not, in 1789, have had the power to displace state tort law, the nature of the problem has changed so dramatically as to bring the problem within the scope of the power granted to Congress. Accordingly, proposals, such as placing limits or caps on punitive damages, or eliminating joint or strict liability, which may once have been clearly understood as beyond Congress’s power, may now be constitutionally appropriate.
So much for originalism!
I’m aware that Bork’s 80 years old, and that his injury is no laughing matter; I know how at that age just about anything can knock you into a death spiral. I wish he had a bit more sympathy for all the 80-year-olds who aren’t wealthy lawyers with lots of powerful friends, or the 30-year-olds without medical insurance who are one bad day away from bankruptcy. I figured this was the common hypocrisy of the wealthy and powerful, till I realized there might be a deeper method behind this, and I wondered if that guy suing the dry cleaners for $65 million was also an anti-tort activist.
See, by launching these big-money lawsuits, they generate their own anti-tort propaganda. And then, if they win, they get big bucks on top of it! Hypocritical like a fox! There have been a bunch of right-wing propagandists claiming that the ACLU does the same thing, which cements it, because the right always projects its own tactics onto its enemies.