Skip to comments.U.S. Supreme Court Justice Questions His Impartiality in High Court's 2000 Election Ruling
Posted on 10/24/2004 3:13:36 PM PDT by hipaatwo
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said he wasn't sure he was being truly impartial when the high court was asked to settle the disputed 2000 presidential vote in Florida. Breyer - named to the court 10 years ago by President Clinton - was one of the dissenting votes in the 5-4 decision that canceled a controversial recount in Florida, sending Republican George W. Bush to the White House instead of Democrat Al Gore.
"I had to ask myself would I vote the same way if the names were reversed," Breyer said Saturday at Stanford University Law School. "I said 'yes.' But I'll never know for sure - because people are great self-kidders - if I reached the truthful answer."
Breyer, a 1959 Stanford graduate, made the comments at a seminar on judicial activism with California Chief Justice Ronald George and federal Court of Appeals Judge Pamela Rymer.
The three said most jurists depend on the rule of law and legal precedent to make decisions - guidelines they acknowledged are subject to interpretation.
"Precedent and rule of law. They don't answer everything but they do give us a clue," Breyer said. "Judges whom I've met by and large try to find the answer. They come to different conclusions, but they try."
Breyer also said many jurists, himself included, take into account contemporary matters raised by the public, citing briefs from organizations defending affirmative action.
"Do I read the newspapers and try to see which way the political wind is blowing?" he said. "No. But we do decide through briefs that are submitted. ... They are people trying to tell us of the impact of our decisions in their bit of the world."
It would be nice if the Justice referred to the Constitution once in a while. He took an oath to it.
The Florida mess should have been resolved by Congress, as the Constitution provides.
Of course he wasn't impartial. Liberal Judges are liberals first and seek to make their mark by "making" law in their own way.
He's apparently the last one to figure he's wasn't impartial in his 2000 election decision, and even then, he's still not sure.
At least he's honest :)
The truth is that liberalism is defined by the negative, superficial imperatives of journalism. And that, therefore, reading newspapers or listening to "the news" is a suspect activitiy for jurists, who subject themselves thereby to the blandishments of positive or negative PR.
an honest jerkoff is still a jerkoff.
After he's caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
I must respectfully disagree on that point, Jim. It would not have gotten that far. I had spoken with the office of Speaker of House Foley who was prepared to convene a special session of the legislature if the Supreme Court did not undo what the RAT partisan Florida Supremes had done. Fortunately, the GOP had the votes and would have given the electors to Bush as they had the authority to do.
Sure I would (wink, wink).
Liberals consider idealogical positions much more important than the Constitution.
Exactly. The correct decision in that case would have been for the U.S. Supreme Court to refuse to hear the case. The Florida legislature would have certified that state's electors, or else no Florida electors would have been certified at all -- in which case the U.S. Congress would have elected the President (since neither candidate would have had the required 270 electoral votes).
"Check this out" ping.
The Fla Supreme Court was SO out of control, I think they would have ordered Harris to certify a Gore slate, and the Legislature would surely have appointed a Bush slate.
The Joint Session in January 2001 would have received two sets of Florida EVs, and would have had to chhose-which they would have done, in Bush's favor.
The USSC taking up a political question was a big mistake, IMO.
I think if he were really honest he would have said, "my votes on the Supreme Court have nothing to do with the law or the constitution. I simply vote for the most liberal position."
If scalia or thomas said this It would be the lead story tonight on 60 minutes.
According to Foley's office, they believed that they had the ability to solve it and the Florida Supremes would not have been able to intervene. Perhaps they were wrong. Theoretically, the USSC could have refused to hear it, the Legislature would have given the electors to Bush, the Florida Supremes could have exceeded their authority, and then what? What if the Florida Supremes ordered the electors to be given to Gore? It seems that it would then have to go to the USSC. All hell would have broken loose if the Florida Supremes ordering electors to be given to Gore, the USSC refusing to hear it, then a Republican congress overturning them in awarding the electors. I think that would have caused riots in the streets.
And the Legislature's would have been chosen. NO state supreme court has authority to have any say on the slates of electors. Only the state legislature does.