Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor hasn't given much thought to which was the most important case she helped decide during her 25 years on the bench. But she has no doubt which was the most controversial.A less-than-perfect reputation? Take a look at this from Vincent Bugliosi:
It was Bush v. Gore, which ended the Florida recount and decided the 2000 presidential election.
Looking back, O'Connor said, she isn't sure the high court should have taken the case.
"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."
In the December 12 ruling by the US Supreme Court handing the election to George Bush, the Court committed the unpardonable sin of being a knowing surrogate for the Republican Party instead of being an impartial arbiter of the law. If you doubt this, try to imagine Al Gore's and George Bush's roles being reversed and ask yourself if you can conceive of Justice Antonin Scalia and his four conservative brethren issuing an emergency order on December 9 stopping the counting of ballots (at a time when Gore's lead had shrunk to 154 votes) on the grounds that if it continued, Gore could suffer "irreparable harm," and then subsequently, on December 12, bequeathing the election to Gore on equal protection grounds. If you can, then I suppose you can also imagine seeing a man jumping away from his own shadow, Frenchmen no longer drinking wine.And a few lines further:
Accordingly, the Court reversed the Florida Supreme Court's order that the undervotes be counted, effectively delivering the presidency to Bush.So does this mean that had the court said "We're not gonna take it" that Murika between 2001 and 2009 would have turned out differently?
Impossible to say, of course. But think of all the Bush-era stuff that would have been less-possible during an Al Gore Administration:
- Waving hello to Stevie Wonder (who's blind)
- 4500 Dead American servicemen and women
- 100,000 civilian dead in Iraq
Nice to know that Justice O'Connor's finally coming around - 12+ years too late.