Privacy law expert comments on Bork’s legacy

Robert Bork was a major figure in the history of American law, and of the Supreme Court, says Neil Richards, JD, professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis and former law clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. “His unsuccessful nomination to the Supreme Court in 1987 was really a watershed moment in the history of the Court, as it showed how politicized Court nominations had become, especially on issues of abortion.”


“There is a great irony to Bork’s death this week, a day after the House of Representatives voted to relax the privacy protections in the so-called “Bork Bill,” the federal law that protects the privacy of our video records,” says Richards, a privacy law expert.

“Bork rejected the right to privacy, so a cheeky reporter for the alternative Washington City Paper obtained his family’s video rental records and published them. The City Paper article turned up nothing salacious, but when the reporter threatened to repeat the trick with members of Congress, a horrified legislature passed the Video Privacy Protection Act, a tremendously important piece of privacy legislation protecting our movie-viewing records that is now under assault.”