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Judge Bork

December 19, 2012

I lived at the Watergate in Washington D.C., during the 1980s.

Arriving each spring, along with the daffodils and azaleas, was the migration of Canada geese looking for a private and tranquil place to hatch their goslings.

Invariably, one of the more popular spots for these birds was the Dalecarlia Reservoir and Treatment Plant on MacArthur Blvd. near Georgetown.

It is a spot protected from people by a tall and imposing wire fence, and the geese had everything there that they needed including fresh water, lush grass, and plenty of good locations to build a safe nest.

Still, they were within sight from cars and passersby, so people like me would stop by and feed them through the fence. They especially liked bread and crackers.

It was a weekly ritual. I would stop my car along the boulevard and spend a few minutes feeding and watching over these beautiful birds. One morning, I stopped with a stash of bread and crackers and began to feed a Mother Goose and her six goslings. The babies had just been hatched and were as cute as can be; about the size of tennis balls.

It was a lovable sight, and I was a curious discovery for these six little offsprings, as well.

I had been feeding the geese for a short while when another person parked their car and headed in my direction, seemingly with the same thought in mind.

The man stood over my shoulder, watching the geese with interest and delight. When he commented on what we were witnessing, the voice sounded familiar.

The person who joined me was Federal Judge and legal scholar Robert H. Bork. He had seen the geese from the road; pulled his car out of traffic, parked it along MacArthur Blvd., and walked over to see them close up.

We exchanged words about what we were seeing and the wonderment of it all. I thought at the time how interested and expressive he was about watching them.

A few minutes later, back in his car; he drove off.

Judge Bork was a Yale law professor, Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General of the United States, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Court. In 1987, he was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan. He was an iconic legal conservative and universally acknowledged public policy scholar.

He died today at the age of 85.

He is remembered for many things. For me, it will be a tranquil morning in Washington, D.C. with a mother Canada goose and her six baby goslings.

Life doesn't get much better than that.