In a YouTube clip making the rounds, Elena Kagan says that the Robert Bork hearings were "the best thing that ever happened to constitutional democracy."
The unease about Bork's faith grew so loud in the South that Sen. Howell Heflin, D-Ala., began his remarks at Bork's confirmation hearings by discussing the allegation "that Judge Bork is an agnostic or a non-believer." Heflin said that the Constitution forbade inquiries into Bork's religious views. But Heflin showed his true feelings later, when he voted against Bork and explained to Alabama radio stations in a recorded statement: "I was further disturbed by his refusal to discuss his belief in God—or the lack thereof."
Heflin wasn't alone in using Bork's religious unorthodoxy against him. Rep. John Bryant, D-Texas, accused the Reagan administration of deceiving "many well-meaning and concerned religious groups" into thinking "that the appointment of Bork, an agnostic who is not a member of any church, would somehow be consistent with and advance their beliefs." Sen. Bennett Johnston, D-La., in voting against Bork, told his colleagues,
I am not one to bring up any religious test for judges. I simply mention that because there are so many right-to-lifers, people with whom I agree, there are fundamental religious people who look to Judge Bork as if he is some savior on this question. And I say that they should look, in addition to what he has written, at his statements on morals or lack thereof—and I don't mean to suggest he is immoral—but his lack of occupation with morals and with religion.