Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor recently met with the Chicago Tribune editorial board. When asked about her most controversial ruling in 25 years on the Supreme Court, she named the December 2000 decision in Bush v Gore.
“It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue,” O’Connor said during a talk Friday with the Tribune editorial board. “Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.’”
The case, she said, “stirred up the public” and “gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation.”
“Obviously the court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision,” she said. “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.”
Bush v Gore permanently lowered my respect for the high court. When I first heard that the Bush campaign appealed the Florida Supreme Court’s decision, I laughed. I assumed people like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia would stay true to their “states’ rights” ideology and refuse to hear the case, since administering elections is a state issue.
For my money, former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi wrote the best commentary on the utterly dishonest Bush v Gore majority ruling: None Dare Call It Treason.