Dr. Lori J. Owens is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Jacksonville State University. She earned a Doctorate in Political Science and an outside minor in U.S. Constitutional History from The University of Alabama, where she also earned her Masters Degree in Political Science. Dr. Owens serves on the Faculty Senate and the Political Relations Committee at Jacksonville State University. She also serves on the Alabama Women’s Commission and is an Academic Associate for The Atlantic Council.
2005 0-7734-5852-2 This study examines the judicial philosophy of original intent and how the 1987 Robert Bork hearings impacted the judicial nomination and confirmation process. Although the debate had raged in the law schools for decades, the debate became public during Ronald Reagan’s second term. The Bork nomination was a merging of jurisprudence and politics. Following Bork’s rejection, many opponents of original intent argued that originalism was dead. The purpose of this research was to determine if the original intent debate still exists and how the Bork episode affected the nomination and confirmation process.
This study examines the scholarly literature on the emergence of the original intent debate, the exchange of words between Edwin Meese and William Brennan, the confirmation process prior to 1987, the Bork hearings, how the Bork hearings impacted post-Bork nominations and confirmations, Bill Clinton’s nominees to the federal judiciary, and the current status of original intent. Interviews with participants on both sides of this debate are included in this study.