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Almost a decade after his bitterly contested nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, Robert H. Bork remains one of America's most prominent legal theorists. His ordeal transformed him into a public figure and an outspoken observer of American political, legal, and cultural life. With the recent publication of his Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline (Regan Books/Harper Collins), Bork, who taught constitutional law at Yale Law School, attempts to chart our nation's transformation into a culture that rewards self-gratification and equality without merit. Describing himself as a "generic Protestant," he warns that "large chunks of the moral life of the United States have disappeared altogether, and more are in the process of extinction."

CT advisory editor Michael Cromartie visited with Bork in his Washington office at the American Enterprise Institute, where Bork is the John H. Olin Scholar in Legal Studies.

Your book describes the role the Supreme Court has played in promoting cultural decline in America. How has that happened?

Consider Cohen v. California (1971), a case in which a young man wore a jacket into a courthouse that had obscenities written on the back that suggested performing an implausible sexual act with the Selective Service System. He was arrested, and the Supreme Court said he couldn't be convicted. One of the reasons given was "Who was to say what was obscene?" The majority opinion actually said, "One man's vulgarity is another man's lyric." If you want radical individualism and moral relativism, there you are.

You write that "Sooner or later censorship is going to have to be considered as popular culture continues ...

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May 19, 1997

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