MCLEAN, Va. (AP) - Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is remembering Robert Bork as "one of the most influential legal scholars of the past 50 years."
Bork, who won the admiration of conservatives during his unsuccessful fight to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice in 1987, died today at a hospital in northern Virginia. He was 85.
Bork's career included time as an attorney, a Yale Law School professor and a Republican political appointee. At Yale, two of his constitutional law students were Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham. Years later, Bork would joke that he no longer said they had been students -- only that they "were in the room."
He first gained national prominence when, as the third-ranking official at the Justice Department in 1973, he fired the Watergate special prosecutor under orders from Richard Nixon's White House.
After Ronald Reagan nominated him to be a Supreme Court justice, Bork was attacked from the left for his conservative writings. Sen. Edward Kennedy said, "In Robert Bork's America there is no room at the inn for blacks and no place in the Constitution for women." He was defeated in the Senate, 58 to 42.
From that battle emerged a verb, to "bork," meaning to vilify a nominee on ideological grounds.
A longtime friend says Bork was "embittered" by the experience, and that he became even more conservative.
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