RIP:Judge Lawrence Walsh-- An American Hero
Francis A. Boyle
504 E.Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, Illinois 61820
9 September 1997
TO: Robert H. Bork
Concerning your fund-raising letter of 28 August that just came to my attention, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for publicly associating me with a Lawyer and a Judge who has the principles, courage and integrity of Lawrence Walsh.
For your information, that message and others like out were sent out all over the internet, not just to 30 professors, together with the full text of Judge Walsh's attack on the Federalist Society. Out of respect for Judge Walsh, I certainly do hope that my professorial colleagues will pay the most serious attention to what he had to say about the Federalist Society. After all, Judge Walsh is a pillar of the American Legal Establishment and of the Republican Party. As for myself, I have always been a political independent and resent your implication that I am a member of the Democrat Party.
Be that as it may, it seems to me that you have only (once again!) made a fool of yourself by publicly attacking a Lawyer and a Judge with the courage, integrity and principles of Judge Walsh--characteristics that you yourself were not noted for as Solicitor General (when you fired Archie Cox, the first Special Prosecutor), during your tenure on the bench, or during your Supreme Court nomination hearings. Rather than publicly attacking Judge Walsh, I suggest that you personally as well as the Federalist Society institutionally should be giving the most serious consideration to what he had to say.
Yours very truly,
Francis A. Boyle
Professor of Law
cc: Judge Lawrence Walsh
From Iran-contra Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh, Firewall:
According to the conventional wisdom, we were in a double bind: The judges appointed by Democratic presidents were supposedly most concerned with protecting the constitutional rights of persons prosecuted for crimes, while most of the other judges owed their appointments to Ronald Reagan or George Bush, who had stated publicly and emphatically that they hoped that North would not be convicted.
Over the years, I had often found such simplistic views to be wrong. Most judges overcome the prejudices and alliances they had when appointed to the federal bench. During my three and one-half years on the federal district court in New York, I had experienced the merging process by which new judges are absorbed into their courts. My hard-line political and professional views had moderated during lunchroom conversations with Learned Hand, Jerome Frank, and Harold Medina and had dissolved after a couple of my decisions had been reversed on appeal.
But I was concerned about the continuing political allegiance of Republican judges as manifested in the Federalist Society. Although the organization was not openly partisan, its dogma was political. It reminded me of the communist front groups of the 1940s and l950s, whose members were committed to the communist cause and subject to communist direction but were not card-carrying members of the Communist Party. In calling for the narrow construction of constitutional grants of governmental power, the Federalist Society seemed to speak for right-wing Republicans. I was especially troubled that one of White House Counsel Boyden Gray's assistants had openly declared that no one who was not a member of the Federalist Society had received a judicial appointment from President Bush.
francis a. boyle