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Judge Bork on Civil Rights

August 09, 1987

After criticizing Senate opponents of Bork for not embracing his philosophy of "legislative supremacy," Tom Bethell asks, "Why are Democrats tempted to act undemocratically?" (Editorial Pages, July 29). Well, here is one Democrat's answer.

The reason is, simply, that the Bill of Rights is not a "democratic" document. It was enacted and stands as the primary guarantee of our individual liberties against the will of the majority. And the Supreme Court's function is to enforce it with sensitivity to the document's substance and role, as well as to legislative prerogatives.

Bork, however, has this all out of balance. According to his brand of "judicial restraint," a married couple's choice to use birth control is merely a "gratification," and if the legislature chooses to outlaw it, the court should stand aside.

This may be interesting philosophy for a law professor, and if Bork really is such an outstanding proponent of legislative power, maybe he should run for the Senate. But he does not belong on the Supreme Court of a free America.

LAURENCE F. JAY

Los Angeles

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