Bush v. Gore, according to O’Connor
The following blog post from the NY Times highlights retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s recent comments on the Bush v. Gore decision. I have deleted the editorial content of the post because I want to hear your opinion. Was SCOTUS’s agreement to hear the case a good decision? And what about the decision itself? Is O’Connor’s after-the-fact commentary appropriate? Was the Court’s decision a good one?
O’Connor Regrets Bush v. GoreBy ANDREW ROSENTHAL
Now she tells us. More than 12 years after the fact, retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said she believes it was a mistake for the Supreme Court to take Bush v. Gore and anoint George W. Bush as president of the United States.
“It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue,” Justice O’Connor told the Chicago Tribune editorial board on Friday. “Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.’”
She continued: “Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision. 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.”
The result, she allowed, “stirred up the public” and “gave the court a less than perfect reputation.”
Justice O’Connor’s comments, as fascinating as they are, have to set some kind of record for detachment (she calls the court on which she sat for 25 years “it” — avoiding the more apt “we”) and also for understatement.
Granted, we don’t know for sure whether Justice O’Connor wanted to take Bush v. Gore. Only four justices have to agree to hear a case. But we do know that she sided with the majority on the actual decision, which stopped the recounting in Florida and gave a one-vote majority in the Electoral College to the man who lost the national popular vote.