A passionate rendering of the 1987 grass-roots coalition campaign to defeat the Reagan nomination of Robert Bork to replace Louis Powell as Justice of the Supreme Court. Pertschuk, former Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, is author of Revolt Against Regulations (1982) and Giant Killers (1986). Conservatives damned the anti-Bork campaign as an unconscionable politicalization of a process meant to be insulated from politics. Liberals might well be damning the campaign in retrospect, since the ultimately successful candidate for the Court, Arthur Kennedy, has proven to be more intractably conservative than Bork may have been. But the authors insist that the campaign was a ""necessary and measured response to Reagan's politicizing of the judiciary."" The campaign itself--which forged a bond between action groups as diverse as the ACLU, the American Nurses Association, the Children's Defense Fund, the National Council of Churches, and the Organization of Chinese Americans--was a great lesson, the authors state, in the advocacy skills of coalition-building, networking, lobbying, research, grass-roots organizing, and media advocacy. In the end, the authors conclude, the coalition was a model for future ""grand progressive alliances"": it overcame the fragmentation that progressive groups had experienced through the Reagan years; it blended ""inside"" Washington groups and ""outside"" networks; it provided a lesson in the utilization of professional lobbyists, organizers, and media specialists, it mobilized Democratic Party leaders in Congress as no other issue of the decade; and, most importantly, it renewed hope for civic empowerment among progressives. A well-argued liberal answer to Bork's own The Tempting of America, reviewed above.
Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1989
Page Count: -
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press--dist. by Consortium (213 East 4th St., St. Paul, MN 55101)