Where were you when Bush v. Gore was decided?

Posted by: ST on December 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Columnist George Will has a good if not slightly scolding-to-liberals recap of the recount drama that unfolded in Florida in November of 2000 between then-candidates for president Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore which resulted in Bush v. Gore, which resulted in the SCOTUS ultimately ruling on December 12, 2000 that election laws could not be revised  nor re-written by the FL state Supreme Court in the aftermath of the contested election because they violated the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.  As a result, Al Gore grudgingly conceded and George W. Bush won the state of Florida by 537 votes – becoming the 43rd President of the United States.

Will drives us down Memory Lane:

In the end, seven of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices (and three of the seven Florida justices) agreed on this: The standardless recount ordered by the Florida court – different rules in different counties regarding different kinds of chads and different ways of discerning voter intent – violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

Two of the seven U.S. justices favored ordering Florida’s court to devise standards that could pass constitutional muster and allowing the recount to continue for six more days. Five justices, believing that the recounting had become irredeemably lawless, ended it.

Once Gore summoned judicial intervention, and Florida’s Supreme Court began to revise state election law, it probably was inevitable that possession of the nation’s highest political office was going to be determined by a state’s highest court or the nation’s. The U.S. Supreme Court was duty-bound not to defer to a state court that was patently misinterpreting – disregarding, actually – state law pertaining to a matter assigned by the U.S. Constitution to state legislatures.

Suppose that, after Nov. 7, Florida’s Legislature had made by statute the sort of changes – new deadlines for recounting and certifying votes, selective recounts, etc. – that Florida’s Supreme Court made by fiat. This would obviously have violated the federal law that requires presidential elections to be conducted by rules in place prior to Election Day.

Hard cases, it is said, make bad law. But this difficult case seems to have made little discernible law. That is good because it means no comparable electoral crisis has occurred. What the Supreme Court majority said on Dec. 12, 2000 – “our consideration is limited to the present circumstances” – has proved true. And may remain true, at least until the next time possession of the presidency turns on less than one ten-thousandth of a state’s vote.

Make sure to read the whole thing.

I remember when all of this started unfolding.  I was at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL with friends – at least one of them at the time was Democrat (she became a Republican not long after 9-11).  We didn’t talk about what was going on at the time because the issue was so contentious.  But I remember that a lot of the TVs at the restaurants at Universal were always tuned to a 24-7 news network like Fox or CNN.  Same same at the airport.  You really couldn’t go anywhere without seeing something about the latest claims being made by one side or the other. 

It was a relief when it was over – especially considering the outcome.  Ignorant, uber-partisan liberals, of course, claimed – and still believe to this day – that the so-called “conservatively biased” SCOTUS “invented” laws in order to hand the presidency to George W. Bush.  Their belief that he was “selected, not elected” greatly aided in clouding their judgment of both Bush the man and Bush the President, and they allowed this flawed belief about both the SCOTUS decision and him to negatively color their opinions on his decision-making from that point forward.  2004 Democrat candidate for President Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) even used the 2000 election results as a rallying cry to the Democrat base when running against President Bush, suggesting (paraphrasing) that 2000 ‘couldn’t be allowed to happen again.’  There were liberals post-2004 elections who suggested that Bush stole that election as well.

Remember how all the claims about stolen elections dramatically decreased in 2006 when Democrats started winning again? Yeah – me, too.  Apparently the only time elections aren’t stolen is when Democrats win. Or something like that. ;)

Anyway – so that’s my story.  Where were you when the decision came down from SCOTUS on December 12, 2000?  What were your thoughts?

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8 Responses to “Where were you when Bush v. Gore was decided?”


  1. ShyAsrai says:

    i remember being glued to the TV non-stop.

    i do know that i still get nauseated from fury every single time i hear the oh-so-ignorant phrase “selected, not elected“.

    what is it about “you don’t get to change the rules once the game starts or after it’s over” that people don’t get? i learned that even before kindergarten.

  2. Phineas says:

    I honestly don’t know where I was. Lost weekend! ;)

    I do know some of my liberal friends cling bitterly to Stevens’ dissent as if it were Holy Writ.

    And I really think the whole experience unhinged Al-baby, just a bit.

  3. Tango says:

    ….I was home in SoCal at the time – doin’ the Happy Dance! (The resident fur balls thought I’d finally lost it). ;-)

  4. Zilla says:

    I was in a hospital room with my dad who was in a coma. When Bush was finally inaugurated, I told my comatose father that George W Bush was now officially the President of the United States. He had been watching the whole thing unfold before a stroke put him out of this realm. When I told my dad that Bush was POTUS, he actually opened his eyes! It was the only time he did so and he passed a few days later. He had been very sick for some time before that and he had wondered aloud if he should give up, I had jokingly said to him that he needed to stick around to see Bush finally beat Gore for good, it’s almost as if he took it seriously.

  5. Kate says:

    I was having major dental work. Back and forth to the dentist for a couple weeks and this debacle always came up…my dentist was a young guy who was actually a Bush supporter and couldn’t believe what was going on in Florida.

    It was relief when this was finally sorted out and my dental work was finally completed!

  6. Carlos says:

    Strange as it may seem, in our local Red Guard newspaper just this morning were 2 (!) letters mentioning the “fact” that GW was an illegitimate prez and it was the SCOTUS that elected him.

    It doesn’t surprise me at all. After all, these are the same people who believe the poor are the ones who create jobs (obviously – why would we make them pay taxes?), and the ones who believe capitalism is intrinsically evil, and the ones who search for unicorns to feed.

  7. nina says:

    I was in ground zero of stealing an election-Broward County. I was watching a democrat creep woman called Gunzberger and a fat judge steal an election. In this years election while they were deciding the Scott race Broward and Palm Beach did not gave final totals till they realized they could not steal the election for their idiot. Corruption is rampid in this democrat runned swamp.Thank G-d for supremes!!!

  8. K.J. Hinton says:

    Sitting in my office, working as E.D. of the Washington State GOP…. thinking that, perhaps, we’d won one, for once.