From the above-linked NYT obituary:
Judge Bork, a bear of a man with a scraggly red beard and untamed frizz on a balding pate who liked to eat, drink and smoke for much of his adult life, handled himself poorly in front of the [Senate Judiciary] committee and failed to give doubters confidence. As Tom Shales, the television critic for The Washington Post, wrote of his testimony: “He looked, and talked, like a man who would throw the book at you — maybe like a man who would throw the book at the whole country.”See that's what I was just talking about: Liberals used to express abhorrence of law-and-order types.
The NYT obit refers to "the notion that the nominee was somehow unfeeling as a judge." Somehow... a notion... Where, oh, where could it come from?!
This [notion] was amplified when, asked by a sympathetic senator, Alan Simpson, Republican of Wyoming, why he wanted to serve on the Supreme Court, Judge Bork replied that it would be “an intellectual feast.”And that was it, the worst answer ever given to any question in the history of the United States. Intellectual feast! The feast turned out to be a feeding frenzy for the liberal media. Why, they're still picking kinky reddish beard hairs out of their back molars! Burrrrp! Tasty! What a time! And no Supreme Court nominee has said one interesting thing since. Every single one has promised to be a good little judge who would never ever do anything but serve humbly and modestly deciding the cases according to the law.
You think it was interesting that John Roberts said he saw himself as an umpire, calling balls and strikes? That proves my point! I know, Clarence Thomas, "high-tech lynching," but that wasn't about doing the judicial work, so I'm excluding that from the point, which is that they all learned what not to do from Bork. Presidents learned to avoid even picking someone Borkish, so no one was allowed to look weird, speak quirkly, seem like an intellectual with ideas of his own, it would just be bland blandness served atop a steaming pile of blandness. That is: Not tasty! As a live-blogger of nomination hearings, I want to know: Where's my intellectual feast?
ADDED: When C-SPAN put its entire archive up on-line, the first thing I looked up to relive was the Bork hearings: