Perspectives Differ Depending Upon Who's On Top

As a young reader of National Review, Commentary, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page, I had been a true believer in the judicial doctrines of strict interpretation and originalism. The Supreme Court shouldn't run hog-wild in interpreting the Constitution and other law, I believed, but should instead sharply restrict itself to what was originally intended.

Yet when I read a full statement of this case—Robert Bork's The Tempting of America—I turned against it.

Why? Because I had noticed a logical flaw in the argument?

Nah ... Because I read Bork's book in paperback in the spring of 1991. 

And, sure, his originalist doctrine would be a good idea when those rotten Democrats were in ascendance. But in May 1991, only a few months after George H.W. Bush's triumph in the Gulf War,  it was utterly obvious to me that the Republican President would be re-elected in 1992. 

And with the GOP having 5.5 more years in the White House, they would nominate staunch Republican replacements for Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun, and Whizzer White. (Marshall, a Democrat, came to the same conclusion as me at this time and retired, allowing Bush to nominate Clarence Thomas to the black seat.)

So, why endorse Bork's judicial doctrine since it would impede My Guys from running hog wild when they'd soon have a huge majority on the Supreme Court and could do whatever they felt like?

My logic struck me as impeccable.

Is this the only time I've changed my mind expediently based on who was winning? Almost surely not—it's just clearer in my head because my 1991 electoral forecast went so badly awry in 1992.

And am I the only person whose intellectual perspective seems to change depending upon whether My Team happens to be on the top or on the bottom at present? Perhaps. But perhaps not.