I'm hearing the lament among lots of people who should know better that the judicial confirmation process is a lot more partisan than it once was, and it's the Democrats' fault for opposing Robert Bork. It amazes me that even people in the news media will throw this claim out there without ever mentioning the reasons behind the opposition to Bork, as if it was just mere "partisanship."
Robert Bork openly supported Jim Crow poll taxes. He also did not believe in a constitutionally protected right to privacy. At his confirmation vote, no fewer than six Republicans voted against him, and he won only 42 votes for confirmation.
Still think the Democrats were being overly partisan?
A quick history lesson: when the special prosecutor of the Watergate Hotel break-in, Archibald Cox, came a' knockin' for Richard Nixon's Oval Office tape recordings, Nixon knew he was in deep shit. He refused to hand them over at first, but Cox pressed on. Nixon offered a compromised, that a near-deaf Senator named John Stennis would listen to them for him. Cox refused the compromise, so Nixon did the only thing left he could think of: he ordered his Attorney General to fire the Special Prosecutor.
The Attorney General refused and resigned in protest.
So Nixon asked the next guy in line to fire him. The next guy in line refused and resigned in protest.
So Nixon asked the third guy in line to fire him. That guy saw the Attorney General job dangling in front of him, snapped it up, and fired the Special Prosecutor, an act so unethical that 5 years later Congress enacted the Ethics in Government Act specifically to prevent that kind of thing from happening again.
That guy who did Nixon's dirty work, as you can guess, was Robert Bork.