Legal History

Bork's posthumous book tells of Nixon's promise after Saturday Night Massacre


Image from Encounter Books.

A memoir by Robert Bork published after his death says President Nixon promised to nominate him for the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as a vacancy occurred.

The book, Saving Justice, says Nixon made the promise after Bork complied with Nixon’s order to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973, the Associated Press reports. Bork said he’s not sure whether Nixon made the promise to ensure his continued loyalty, or whether the president believed he still had enough clout to get a nominee confirmed.

Bork, then the solicitor general, had fired Cox in what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre after Attorney General Eliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus refused to do so. Richardson resigned rather than carry out the order, and Ruckelhaus was fired for his refusal.

Bork died in December at the age of 85. President Reagan nominated Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, but the nomination failed after opponents portrayed Bork as extremist.

Last updated at 8:38 a.m.

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