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Court Nominee Echoes Bork on Precedence Over Own Views

February 25, 1988|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In a hearing reminiscent of Robert H. Bork's confirmation testimony, a conservative California law school professor told senators today that he would follow Supreme Court precedent and not always his own feelings if he is approved for a federal judgeship.

Bernard Siegan, President Reagan's nominee for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, told the Senate Judiciary Committee he "will observe the law of the land" if confirmed.

"If a case comes where I can't observe the law of the land I would resign," Siegan said. "There are times I will rule contrary to my own feelings."

Siegan's views do not always parallel those of Bork, but he is just as controversial when writing on subjects such as civil rights, separation of church and state, and equal protection for women.

For instance, Siegan wrote that the 14th Amendment "safeguards only fundamental and natural rights from violation by the states. There is no fundamental or natural right to education, nor to an integrated education. Each is a political right created by government and is accordingly not within the guarantees of the 14th Amendment."

Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum, a liberal Ohio Democrat who opposed the Bork nomination, said, "I'm concerned that if confirmed, you will find a way to implement your views. Circuit courts are often the courts of last resort." He told Siegan there would be a "great risk" if he were confirmed.

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