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book review

‘The Oath’ by Jeffrey Toobin and ‘America’s Unwritten Constitution’ by Akhil Reed Amar

When Ronald Reagan nominated federal Judge Robert Bork to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court in 1987, my first reaction was generally positive: I was a Republican congressman, had a good relationship with Reagan (having been director of policy task forces for his 1980 presidential campaign), and was inclined to accept the president’s choice.

Then at breakfast one day, I asked Bork whether he actually believed — as had been reported — that citizens have no constitutional right to privacy, despite the court’s finding in Roe v. Wade. In response, he repeated his view that citizens can claim only those rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution. Because I believe the opposite (that citizens retain all rights not delegated to government), I opposed his nomination.

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