The Right Tries to Pick the Right Justice
By JASON DePARLE
Published: June 27, 2005
WASHINGTON, June 26 - When Anthony M. Kennedy was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1987, he took the place of a fallen conservative icon, Robert H. Bork, whose defeat in a Senate conflagration still shapes judicial politics. Sunny while Mr. Bork emanated gloom, clean-shaven while Mr. Bork was bearded, Justice Kennedy was above all philosophically undefined while Mr. Bork's conservatism was chiseled.
But for the next few years, Justice Kennedy sided so reliably with the court's right flank that relieved conservatives proclaimed him an ally: "Bork without the beard."
No one calls him that now. Instead, some notable conservatives are calling for his impeachment. For more than a decade, Justice Kennedy has infuriated the right, writing decisions in cases that struck down prayer at public school graduations, upheld abortion rights, gave constitutional protections to pornography and gay sex and banned the death penalty for juveniles.