It all began with Jeff Sessions from Alabama. Even before they coined a term for it — "Borking" — they did it to Jeff Sessions, a decent man with a stellar legal reputation as a fearless and tough but fair federal prosecutor down South.
In 1986, President Reagan nominated Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to the federal bench. The son of a general store keeper, Mr. Sessions was highly regarded for his intellect and devotion to the Constitution. The American Bar Association deemed him “qualified” for the post.
But then he came to Washington and met the United States Senate for confirmation hearings.
God help any good citizen whoever meets such a terrifying fate.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy — 17 years removed from leaving Mary Jo Kopechne to die her watery death on Chappaquiddick Island — smelled injustice. Liberal special interest groups in Washington had hatched a plan for Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to begin smearing Republican nominees to the federal bench.
With only the flimsiest of accusations and innuendos from suspect testimony, Mr. Sessions was duly smeared in the worst way he could imagine. He was accused of harboring racist prejudices against blacks. They said he was willing to pervert justice and shred the Constitution in order to advance this twisted worldview.
Mr. Sessions was blindsided. He had never encountered such absurd allegations.
But in this world, none of that mattered. All they needed were accusations. The most vile accusations imaginable.