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Ear to the Ground

Retired Supreme Court Justice Casts Doubt on Bush v. Gore

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Posted on Apr 29, 2013
Flickr/The Aspen Institute

In an instance of too little and way too late, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is questioning whether the tribunal should have agreed to hear Bush v. Gore, the controversial case that decided the 2000 presidential election and put George W. Bush into office.

“It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue,” O’Connor, who stepped down from the court in 2006, told the Chicago Tribune editorial board Friday. “Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.’ ”

“Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision,” she added. “It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn’t done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day.”

Gee, you think?

All these years later, it appears O’Connor is having a case of buyer’s remorse. She was, after all, one of the five justices—all appointed to the court by Republican presidents—who voted in favor of shutting down the recount in Florida.

It should also be pointed out that this isn’t the first time O’Connor has expressed discontent over the court’s vote.

The Washington Post:

In a 2010 interview, she said she didn’t know if it was right. But, she added, she didn’t worry about it because several recounts found that Bush would have won the state regardless. (Those recounts were limited; had Al Gore been able to trigger a statewide recount the result likely would have been different.) She has also linked declining public perception of the Supreme Court to that decision.

In an interview with NPR last month, Supreme Court reporter Jeffrey Toobin said that O’Connor regrets her vote, even if she will never say so.

Read more

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

 

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