Skip to comments.Justices defend Florida recount decision ('had no choice but to intervene' in the Florida fiasco)
Posted on 01/24/2007 11:26:25 PM PST by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - Three of the five Supreme Court justices who handed the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000 say they had no choice but to intervene in the Florida recount.
Comments from Justice Anthony Kennedy and retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor are in a new book that was published this week. Justice Antonin Scalia made his remarks Tuesday at Iona College in New York.
Scalia, answering questions after a speech, also said that critics of the 5-4 ruling in Bush v. Gore need to move on six years after the electoral drama of December 2000, when it seemed the whole nation hung by a chad awaiting the outcome of the presidential election.
"It's water over the deck get over it," Scalia said, drawing laughs from his audience. His remarks were reported in the Gannett Co.'s Journal-News.
The court's decision to halt the recount of Florida's disputed election results, thus giving Bush the state's electoral votes, has been heavily criticized as an example of the court overstepping its bounds and, worse, being driven by politics.
Rather than let the recount take place and leave state officials and possibly Congress to determine the outcome of the election, the court's five conservative justices decided to intervene.
They eventually overturned a ruling of the Florida Supreme Court and halted the recount of the state's disputed election results 36 days after the voting. The decision effectively gave Bush Florida's electoral votes and the presidency by 537 votes.
"A no-brainer! A state court deciding a federal constitutional issue about the presidential election? Of course you take the case," Kennedy told ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg in her new book, "Supreme Conflict."
Kennedy said the justices didn't ask for the case to come their way. Then-Vice President Al Gore's legal team involved the courts in the election by asking a state court to order a recount, Kennedy said.
Legal scholars and the four dissenting justices have said the Supreme Court should have declined to jump into the case in the first place.
In a decision made public on the evening of Dec. 12, 2000, the court said the recount violated the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because Florida counties were allowed to set their own standard for determining whether to count a vote.
"Counting somebody else's dimpled chad and not counting my dimpled chad is not giving equal protection of the law," Scalia said at Iona. Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who died in 2005, also were part of the majority.
O'Connor said the Florida court was "off on a trip of its own."
She acknowledged, however, that the justices probably could have done a better job with the opinion if they hadn't been rushed.
Still, O'Connor said the outcome of the election would have been the same even if the court had not intervened.
She was referring to studies that suggest Bush would have won a recount limited to counties that Gore initially contested, although other studies said Gore might have prevailed in a statewide recount.
Good thing I refreshed the main page. I was just about to post this!
This woman is either purposely misleading or stupid. Two reasons that should disqualify you to become a justice on the S.C.
It's been on the wire for awhile. :-)
Some interesting comments.
My memory about this horrible time in our nation's history has mercifully faded, but I thought the Supreme Court ruled that Florida could recount the votes, but they had to recount ALL the votes, not just Al Gore's handpicked Democratic districts.
My, my. How objective and impartial. The article neglects to mention that the DEMS were the ones who initially appealed to the courts for help. But as all should know, only the ACLU has the right to take an appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. (see tagline)
You can bet this shill would state that differently if the Subpreme court had kept the counting and fiddling by the fla court open until the democraps could create enough ballots to give it al goreghoul.
"The court's decision to halt the recount of Florida's disputed election results, thus giving Bush the state's electoral votes, has been heavily criticized as an example of the court overstepping its bounds and, worse, being driven by politics.
Rather than let the recount take place and leave state officials and possibly Congress to determine the outcome of the election, the court's five conservative justices decided to intervene."
No, no, no, the Supreme Court did not decide to intervene. Two cases were brought before them and they decided to hear those cases.
"They eventually overturned a ruling of the Florida Supreme Court"
The ruling by the Florida Supreme Court changed Florida election law. This decision by the FSC was not based on any case. It was an attempt by the Florida judges to create or change law rather than interpret it. This is what we call an activist court. The action was ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court.
"...and halted the recount of the state's disputed election results 36 days after the voting."
No, no, no. The US Supreme Court did not say cease and desist to all counting. The court ruled, in essence, count away but count the entire state, not just a tiny selected pocket of it. As a result, Al Gore collected his marbles (some of them anyway) and went home.
Thus began six years of Bush Bashing, bitterness on the part of the Democratic Party, and partisan hatred and hysteria that continues to damage our nation to this day.
At least that's how I remember it. Whoever wrote that AP article should give up journalism and try another career. Burger King is always hiring.
the USSC objected to...
some ballots examined by hand on Nov14,
w/decisions by the independedent county canvassing board.
to be added to...
the rest of the ballots, consider undervotes only.
w/decisions from the FL. state courts
"... handed the presidency ..."
I love how they make this stuff up. Bush WON! And .. the reason I'm sure of that is because of some little known actions that were taken by the drive-by media.
One year after the 2000 election, as the law allows, several media groups, including the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the rest of the assorted lefties in the news media, petitioned the govt for a recount. They paid their money for the priviledge (hundreds of thousands of dollars) .. and began the recount. NOT ONE TIME DURING THE MANY RECOUNTS WERE THEY EVER ABLE TO ESTABLISH THAT GORE WON THE ELECTION; ONLY IF THEY CHEATED. SO AFTER MANY, MANY RECOUNTS - IT WAS FINALLY DETERMINED THAT BUSH DID WIN THE ELECTION - AND THE ACTUAL RECOUNT NUMBER WAS SOMETHING LIKE 1500 - instead of 537.
The fact that the same media groups NEVER REVEALED THIS INFORMATION EXCEPT ON THE BACK PAGES OF THEIR NEWSPAPERS - and never on the internet .. approximately 35% of Americans still believe Gore won the election. When you have media groups willing to deceive the public in order keep the hatred of Bush viable, that's more than dispicable .. it's traitorous.
Once they pulled off that deception .. the lies about the war were a cinch.
And .. as far as the courts were concerned .. the FL Supreme court were the ones who RE-WROTE the election laws of FL .. which is illegal. Once the election is in progress .. you cannot change the laws. This was the real reason the USSC stepped in to stop the fiasco.
All the court action was also deceptively reported on over and over and over. It ended with - the USSC "... handed the presidency to Bush ..." as if he hadn't actually won it.
I've never forgiven the media for this total deception.
'Forgive' them? You aren't naive enough to have believed they wouldn't lie to you. You don't forgive the sworn enemy who is doing everything it can to destroy you, you kill it. And that's what the Net is doing, little by little. I only hope there's enough time to save the nation from the corrosion the mainstream media bastards have created.
Well that's clear as mud.
I'll check in tomorrow to see if someone else answered my question in a way that is understandable.
I said, "I've never forgiven them ..."
So what are you complaining about now ..??
Well, the opening sentance of this article certainly proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there's no bias at AP!
Al Gore made the decision on election night to destroy any normalcy that this country knew before that night. It has and never will be the same ever again. Al Gore is responsible for the the way politics is now fought and how the office of the President of the U.S.A. is treated so cheaply by the world.
Al Gore has taken this country to new lows every single time he has opened his mouth and allowing this disgrace to go on for well over a month made us a laughing stock globally.
I would love to sit here and blame Al Gore for just about every single problem we face as a nation today because of his and the DNC's election antics because Lord knows George W. Bush sure has taken the blame for everything under the sun since the election of 2000.
The bastard Gore destroyed this country the night he decided to withdraw his concession.
Al Gore deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life and not walking down the red carpet getting an Oscar in a month for a pile of shit documentary. He sold this country out with Clinton and put himself first before his country when it came time to the national election.
He can go to hell.
Amen and precisely the point.
It was close, very close. You play by the rules, there were two recounts according to the rules. Gore lost.
Anyone who cared more about the country than himself would have accepted the rules. Nixon did at least as much in 60.
Gore chose himself over the good of the country - and forever jepordized the confidence of the ballot box. A very damaging act for the republic.
This should haunt him forever. He should be a pariah and his public career should be over.
"Three of the five Supreme Court justices who handed the presidency to George W. Bush..."
Bullcr*p. No one "handed" George W. Bush anything - he won the election according to American law and electoral precedent.
Gee, nothing biased here. I saw no point in going any farther.
No problem with your memory, freelancer. That's exactly how it went down.
I'm more taken with the above article editorializing "...handed the presidency to..., ...example of court overstepping it's bounds...," - and my favorite; "... FIVE conservative judges..."!
ahhh, These AP marxists, gotta hand it to them, they give credit for Alito & Roberts imposing conservative presence - years before they were even selected.
An AP story that starts out like this is a good indication of bias. I'll read further....
Gore was recounting votes in democrat districts he had already won. I live in Broward County. It was an embarrassment to our country to watch our local democrat commissioners on t.v. examining hanging chads and giving additional votes to gore. As I recall, that's why the U.S. Supreme Court was appealed to and stepped in. Gore was being allowed to overule Florida's election laws with his selective hand counts.
I'll never forget that debacle, and I hope that nobody else does either.
He also selected districts that had enough crooked democRAT commissioners that he would likely get several votes drawn from thin air. You're right - it was the selective recounting that was highly questionable. Remember when one canvassing group tried to lock out republicans?
Yep, pretty obvious. Only those who are trying to re-write history believe differently.
I had not heard that there were four votes not to hear the case.
They were of course correct.
The chusing of electors for President and Vice-President from Florida was and is a nonjusticeable political question (if it isn't, then there are no political questions at all).
Our Constitution provides clear and unambiguous methods for resolving disputes of this kind, which should have been used.
Yes, but he had a lot of help from the Supreme Court.
The Congress could have and would have restored what Gore took away, had they not been pre-empted by the Court's foolish decision to rule on a political question.
The political question created by the FLA Supremes would have had a political resolution, and, at the very worst, Joe Lieberman would have been VP instead of Cheney.
When the USSC enters and attempts to resolve political questions (Roe v. Wade being the best example in our time, Scott v. Sanford the best of all time), disaster follows, as it did here.
It was in a Dade County district (Miami) where they were keeping the Republicans out of the recount.
In Palm Beach County, a democrat member of the commission was discovered to have a voting machine (of the famous punch card variety) in the trunk of his car during the recounts. Lets talk about the party of corruption.
That's the wrong way to say it.
Two branches of the Florida government, both elected by the People, were at war and trying to produce opposite results.
Fortunately for Bush, the branch on his side had sole Federal Constitutional authority in the matter, and, also fortunately for Bush, his party had a large majority of State delegations in the House of Representatives.
There was no possible way for Al Gore to become President, regardless of the illegal actions of the Florida Supreme Court (unless Bush and the GOP agreed). At the worst, the President of the Senate (Mr.Gore) would have received two envelopes from Tallahassee for counting, and would have placed the matter before a joint session of Congress, where he would have been (politically, legally, and definitively) defeated.
I didn't read it. I don't care what they say, the SC has no authority to tell states how to conduct elections. We need to impeach those jerks and get them off the bench.
The article is completely wrong. By a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court found that subjecting some ballots to a higher degree of scrutiny than the rest violated the 14th Amendment. Ginsberg and Bryer (Clinton/Gore appointees) dissented.
By a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the Florida Supreme Court (all Democrats) could not arbitrarily alter the state's election laws.
whatever do you mean?
Al Gore would not have won the recount inspite of what the dems screamed.
She is right. But what she didn't say is al gore would have gamed or cheated on the recount. A fair one would have given florida to Bush.
I am suffering some brain fade on this, but I thought that the count on the Supremes was something like 7-2 to stop the recount, 5-4 on what to do about it.
I agree with every word you said.
There is a disgust with Al Gore and his attempt to turn this country's electiion into a banana republic lookalike that I just can't get over.
When I look at him I see a child who never could play by the rules, an impossible entitled spoiled spoil sport whose parents raised him like a little Fauntleroy, a boy who other boys detested,,,all grown up trying to pervert the electoral system of the greatest republic ever known. And almost succeeding.
Thank God for the Supreme Court in this case.
"The Congress could have and would have restored what Gore took away, had they not been pre-empted by the Court's foolish decision to rule on a political question."
How in the world do you consider Gore and the Florida Supreme Court decisions overriding Florida's Election LAWS in the MIDDLE OF AN ELECTION a "POLITICAL" question????? Gore was violating the Florida Election Laws with his lawyers and the Florida Supreme Court was changing Florida Election Law, which is not their job. It's the Florida Legislature which writes or changes law, and not in the middle of an eleciton count. POLITICAL?????
Not to mention how very long righting that Fla supreme court would have taken. And not to forget, we were less than ayear away from a terrorist attack.
I shudder to think of what might have happened had that public travesty gone forward. It would have torn this country to bits.
Lookiing back, I am still in shock at that election. Nixon, who refused to contest his loss to Kennedy, did the right thing in my mind.
Gore is beyond contempt, beyond the pale. I cannot think of any better way to describe that most unmanly of men. Unmanly is the best advective I can think of for him.
The US Supreme Court stopped the disregard and rewriting of Florida's Elections laws during the election count by Gore and his attorneys and the rulings of the FL Supreme Court. The Florida Supreme Court overstepped its bounds. The Supreme Court wasn't telling states "how to conduct elections". The US Supreme Court was telling Florida it had the right to conduct the election according to it's EXISTING Election LAWS.
The decision was 7-1.
What is an election BUT a political question?
The XII Amendment clearly outlines how to resolve disputes of this type, and it does not mention any court.
Another factoid which has been drilled in the American psyche. The 5-4 ruling was to immediately stop the umpteenth post-election vote manufacturing recount. Two of the justices thought a few extra days (at most) could possibly be allowed.
The real vote in Bush v. Gore was 7-2 against counting some votes (winos, hanging chads, duplicates, overvotes and undervotes) more than others (military, people who understood how to mark a ballot). The only two in this key vote were the two Clinton appointees.
7-2 was the key vote in the ruling. 5-4 was only about the timing.
If everyone did their job, it would have been over on January 6, AND everyone would have gotten a valuable lesson in Con Law AND the result would have been undisputed.
An election is a political event. The counting of the votes follows law. There is a difference.
This story leans so hard to the left I fell out of my chair!
An election is an act of the People, not an act of the State.
The People, acting through their Representatives in Congress assembled, should be the judges.
Why you think this would have ended with everyone satisfied, I don't know. We had people trying to get electors to change their votes, right on national television!
I am certain that state delegations would have been badgered, threatened, and bribed to change votes. The media would have gone on record about how "unfair" this was (no matter how it is detailed in the Consititution) and we would have had democrats marching and perhaps rioting in the streets.
Throughout time, the people of Florida elected representatives who wrote our Florida Election Laws. The people of Florida voted in the election of Bush vs. Gore in 2000. The people of Florida expect the laws of our state of Florida to be observed during an election count. I, a citizen of Florida am offended that Al Gore took it upon himself to disregard the laws of my state of Florida in demanding his selective recounts. Mr. Gore then proceeded with his lawyers, to the FL Supreme Court to change the recount laws to his advantage in the midst of this election. I am happy, as a citizen of the United States and of Florida, that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that my State of Florida was to follow the existing laws that our state legislature put into place. There is no political problem.