Robert H. Bork, whose failed Supreme Court nomination in 1987 infuriated conservatives and politicized the confirmation process for the ensuing decades, died Wednesday at the age of 85. The former Yale law professor and judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had a history of heart problems and had been in poor health for some time.
But Bork was a towering figure for an early generation of conservatives. In the 1960s and '70s, he argued that a liberal-dominated Supreme Court was abusing its power and remaking American life by ending prayers in public schools, by extending new rights to criminals, by ordering cross-town busing and by voiding the laws against abortion.