Remarks at the Annual
Convention of Concerned Women for
you all very much, and believe me, welcome to
A lot of the credit, of course, has to go to one woman. She's one of the powerhouses on the political scene today and one of the reasons that the grassroots are more and more a conservative province. Because of her, the great majority of women once again have a voice in the issues of the day. You can no longer be ignored by the media or by their elected representatives. Beverly LaHaye is changing the face of American politics, and she deserves our thanks and congratulations. [Applause]
know, thinking of this convention brought back to mind one of my favorite
stories about Calvin Coolidge. Some of you may know that after Cal Coolidge was
introduced to the sport of fishing by his Secret Service detail -- [laughter]
-- it got to be quite a passion with him, if you can use that word about Silent
Cal. [Laughter] Anyway, he was once asked by reporters how many fish were in
one of his favorite angling places, the River Brule. Coolidge said the waters
were estimated to carry 45,000 trout. And then he said, ``I haven't caught them
all yet, but I sure have intimidated them.'' [Laughter] Well, there are only
535 Senators and Congressmen up on Capitol Hill. And as
One of the things we're going to keep their attention focused on is -- well, you might say it's making sure that justice is done, that Justice Bork is confirmed by the Senate as our next Supreme Court Justice.
Now, I'm going to talk about him a little bit here, but I feel like I'm preaching to the choir. [Laughter] The Wall Street Journal called Judge Bork, and I quote: ``the most qualified American alive to serve on the Supreme Court.'' And I think his testimony, which was completed last Saturday, demonstrated that to the Nation. The American people saw not only a brilliant legal mind at work but also a wise man who was prudent and fair, a man of careful consideration and deep learning.
Before the hearings began, there was a lot of talk by certain interest groups to the effect that Judge Bork was a political ideologue. On TV's across the Nation, those who tuned into the hearings saw something very different indeed. They saw a judge who impressively argued against ideology -- and that is, against the current fashion in some legal circles that says a judge should bend the law to suit his own political agenda. We've had too much of that already. Judge Bork clearly spelled out his philosophy: that a judge should keep his own views from interfering with an interpretation of the laws and the Constitution according to the intentions of those who enacted them, consistent with precedent. In other words, a judge should interpret the laws and not make them. [Applause] Well, I was going to start the next sentence with ``I think.'' I'm switching. [Laughter] I know you'll agree we need more judges like that.
Now, before the hearings, these same interest groups also argued that Judge Bork was outside the mainstream. But recently, in an article on the op-ed page of the Washington Post, President Carter's White House Counsel, Lloyd Cutler, threw that canard out the window. I have a hunch that maybe the Post was thinking they would get a different view than they got when they accepted his op-ed piece. [Laughter] Mr. Cutler wrote of Judge Bork, and I'll quote again: ``His views were and are widely shared by justices and academics who are in the moderate center.'' Well, it's clear now that the charges that Robert Bork is too ideological are themselves ideologically inspired and that the criticism of him as outside the mainstream can only be held by those who are themselves so far outside the mainstream that they've long ago lost sight of the moderate center.
And there's one subject I wish the hearings had dealt with more thoroughly, and that's crime. Nearly one-third of the Supreme Court's docket is devoted to criminal cases. As a judge on one of our nation's most important appellate courts, Judge Bork has handed down tough but fair decisions that have not only protected the rights of the accused but the rights of the victims, as well. And they've been too long ignored. And I know you'll agree: our Constitution requires no less.
And if people want a measure of how the American public feels on the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, they should ask this organization about the 72,000 petitions, pro-Bork petitions, that have flooded in over the last 3 weeks -- with more coming in all the time. Now, I don't usually make predictions. I've always been a little superstitious about that, but in this case I feel confident that reason will prevail over politics. So, I'm going to make this prediction: Not only that Judge Bork will be confirmed, but that he will go down in history as one of the finest Supreme Court Justices our nation has ever known.
now, even though I'm going to change subjects here, I'm still preaching to the
choir. [Laughter] The next item on our agenda -- and nothing we've done in the
last 6\1/2\ years has been more important -- is the
survival of freedom in
the latest issue of Public Opinion magazine, they printed the results of an
extensive polling of American attitudes towards
on the subject of aid to the freedom fighters, the numbers were impressive.
Asked the question: Should the
with freedom and democracy in
only one fair path to peace: free and fair elections open to all. Now the
Sandinistas have promised to end all censorship. Well, that's a good beginning,
and we must hold them to it. But it's only a beginning. The next steps are
obvious: Open up the jails and let the thousands of political prisoners free;
let the exiles come home; allow freedom of worship, free labor unions, a free
economy; dissolve the so-called neighborhood watch committees; and give the
people of Nicaragua back their basic human rights; and last, but not least,
send the Soviets and the Cubans home. Anyone who demands anything less of the
Sandinistas, anyone who does not insist on true democracy in
I've talked long enough -- [applause] -- I know, but I'd like to leave you with
one thought. In this bicentennial year, I keep being drawn back to George
Washington's first Inaugural Address. He said: ``There is no truth more
thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of
nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness.''
words ring just as urgently true today, perhaps even more so. And it's individuals and groups like yours who have responded to
that sense of urgency, who've taken up
said many times before and will repeat again before I leave here -- you may
call it mysticism if you will -- but I have always believed there had to be
some divine plan that put these great continents here in the Western Hemisphere
between the two great oceans to be found by people who had such a love of
freedom and a desire for that kind of freedom in their hearts that they would
uproot themselves from their homelands and, from every part of the world, come
here to create this country. And the other day I received a letter; a line in
it so eloquent from a man that I have to quote it. He said: ``You can go to live in
I thank you all, and I God bless you all. And I ask His blessing on all of you. And then I'm just going to leave you with one little thing about some of those other parts of the world. I have become a collector of stories that are told among the people of the Soviet Union, that reveal that they have a sense of humor, but also some cynicism about their present system. And I've collected quite a number of them, and they're just wonderful. And one that I think is kind of interesting is the question that was asked in school over there about how do you tell a Communist? He said, ``Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin.'' And how do you tell an anti-Communist? ``It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.'' [Laughter] Thank you very much.
Note: The President
spoke at in the