The Corner

“The Judge”

My first job in Washington was as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute (where I’m back as a “fellow”). This was the early 1990s and Judge Bork was still there. There wasn’t a name I dropped more to my conservative friends. “Yeah, my office is just down the hall from ‘The Judge’s,” I would boast. That’s what we all called him, “The Judge.” By “we” I mean anyone under 30 for sure, and lots of people over 30. To say he was intimidating is an understatement. He was a celebrity, an icon, a touchstone and, yes, a verb. But, it turned out, he was also just a fantastic guy. Yes, he was brilliant, of course.  And others around here can — and have — explain his legal importance better than I can. But he was also so gentlemanly, and decent, and shockingly generous — though not with words. Of all the people I ever knew, he came the closest to Calvin Coolidge’s frugality with words. If you asked him a complex, multivariate question, he would be more than comfortable to simply respond: “No.”

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