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[Ilya Somin (guest-blogging), April 4, 2006 at 12:26am] Trackbacks
Bernard Siegan, R.I.P. III

I just wanted to second (or rather "third") the tributes to Bernard Siegan. Unfortunately, I never met Prof. Siegan, but I well remember the exciting experience of reading his book Economic Liberties and the Constitution as a college sophomore. It certainly opened my eyes to many aspects of constitutional history that I had never even heard of before (and, as I later learned, neither had mainstream legal scholars at the time the book was written and for some time thereafter).

Sadly, Prof. Siegan never got the full credit he deserved for his pioneering efforts. And he also suffered the indignity of being "Borked" by the Senate.

But if you read almost any recent article or book on constitutional economic liberties, Siegan's influence shines through, even if the authors themselves often fail to recognize it.

logicnazi (mail) (www):
Didn't 'Borked' refer to what Bork did to himself with his answers or am I just confused?
4.4.2006 8:16am
frankcross (mail):
He got a big NYT obituary. I think that's impressive.
4.4.2006 11:17am
cynic:
logicnazi: You're confused. Bork may not have helped himself with his style but the charge that he was "out of the mainstream" was leftist hype. The only stream Bork was out of was the trickling one that meanders through Cambridge, Berkeley, San Francisco, Seattle, and other leading outposts of the elite left. The big river of America flows through the rest of the land that leftists fly over. And Bork was squarely in that one.
4.4.2006 11:51am
Freder Frederson (mail):
The big river of America flows through the rest of the land that leftists fly over. And Bork was squarely in that one.

I don't think most Americans think that their state legislatures have the right to ban contraception--which Bork does--even those of us who live smack dab in the middle of the country. You should stop flying over us and stop by some time. We're all not a bunch of bible thumping, creationist, gun-toting, ignorant rubes, no matter how much you West Coast Libertarian elitists sitting in your Ivory towers sucking on the government teat want us to be.
4.4.2006 12:29pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Frederson,

Your bigoted view of people who believe in god and the bible, who find it difficult to believe that non-life becomes a human being out of nothing given enough time and chances, believe in self-defense, etc. is showing. Most of the people with those characteristics are smarter than the average elitist liberal and certainly match up well on average against the average of any other group you care to name.

Says the "Dog"
4.4.2006 12:41pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I don't think most Americans think that their state legislatures have the right to ban contraception--which Bork does--even those of us who live smack dab in the middle of the country.
I don't think most Americans think that the constitution says anything about state legislatures and contraception.

In any case,
1) Bork probably was in the mainstream on some issues, out of the mainstream on some issues.
2) So what? Most of the Court decisions trumpeted by liberals involved cases where the Court was "out of the mainstream." By definition; if the Court was in the mainstream, then these changes could have happened legislatively, without Court intervention.
3) "Borking" refers to what liberals accused him of, including Ted Kennedy's infamous "Robert Bork's America" speech.
4.4.2006 1:25pm
frankcross (mail):
This is supposed to be about Siegan, not Bork.

And I don't think Siegan would have argued that we need government censorship of TV, music and other media in order to have more freedom, as Bork recently argued.
4.4.2006 2:33pm
Gene Vilensky (mail) (www):
I second Prof. Cross on this one. Can we stop rearguing the merits or demerits of the Bork nomination every time his name or the word "Borked" gets brought up?
4.4.2006 2:50pm
Bezuhov (mail):
I'd be curious for more details of Siegan's borking.
4.4.2006 3:42pm
Justin (mail):
Some have said that Bork has dedicated the rest of his life to proving his detractors right, but I would be horrified if the author of Slouching to Gormorrah and the man caught making so many radical (both in favor of social regulation and against economic regulation) positions. On the whole, his arguments have been more radical than Scalia's - who would never get confirmed by a Democratic Senate if he had to reconfirm, just like Babbitt couldn't get confirmed by a Republican Senate. (I leave the filibuster argument for another time...)
4.4.2006 6:03pm