A Riverside congressman wants to ensure that Judge Robert H. Bork and every other American may rent films for viewing in the privacy of their own homes without fear that their video rental records might be revealed to the public.
Rep. Al McCandless (R-Calif.) introduced the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1987 in the House on Wednesday, proposing that video rental customers be allowed to sue for $10,000 if rental store employees disclose rental records without the customer's permission.
The bill, which has received bipartisan backing from both Bork's supporters and detractors, is the direct result of a Washington weekly newspaper's revelation last month that Bork and his wife had rented 146 titles from a Washington video outlet during the previous 18 months.
The list contained no X-rated titles and only a few R-rated films. Bork's tastes seemed to tend toward British cloak-and-dagger films, classic comedies and James Bond. But the publication of his personal catalogue of film selections brought an immediate outcry from senators on both sides of the Judiciary Committee, which was then in the process of debating his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way decried the invasion of Bork's privacy.