By Jonathon Van Maren
During her confirmation hearings in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg did something unprecedented: She openly endorsed legal abortion, something no nominee had ever done. “It is essential to woman’s equality with man that she be the decisionmaker, that her choice be controlling,” Ginsburg told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “If you impose restraints that impede her choice, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex.”
Despite that, she was confirmed 93-3. Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in sending Ginsburg off to the bench.
Contrast that with the Robert Bork hearings six years previously, when Democrats had launched a brutal attack on the Reagan nominee. “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, and schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution,” Ted Kennedy said. Joe Biden, who was running the Senate Judiciary Committee, even suspended his scandal-plagued presidential campaign in part to ensure Bork’s defeat.