Three Supreme Court Justices Helped Bush Win His 2000 Victory In Court

There’s not a sin­gle ounce of doubt these three Supreme Court Jus­tices have the integri­ty to do what’s right if the vote come down to them.  Let’s remind every­one of what hap­pened in 2000, the His­to­ry chan­nel does a phe­nom­e­nal job of this.

Five hun­dred thir­ty-sev­en votes.

That’s all that sep­a­rat­ed Demo­c­rat Al Gore and his Repub­li­can chal­lenger George W. Bush when, on Novem­ber 26, 2000, three weeks after Elec­tion Day, the state of Flori­da declared Bush the win­ner of its 25 elec­toral votes in the race for U.S. president.

After a wild elec­tion night on Novem­ber 7, 2000, dur­ing which TV net­works first called the key state of Flori­da for Gore, then for Bush, fol­lowed by a con­ces­sion by Gore that was soon rescind­ed, the results for who would be the nation’s 43rd pres­i­dent were sim­ply too close to call.

In the 36 days that fol­lowed, Amer­i­cans learned Gore had won the pop­u­lar vote by 543,895 votes. But it’s win­ning the Elec­toral Col­lege that counts. As accu­sa­tions of fraud and vot­er sup­pres­sion, calls for recounts and the fil­ing of law­suits ensued, the terms “hang­ing chads,” “dim­pled chads” and “preg­nant chads” became part of the lexicon.

Andrew E. Busch, pro­fes­sor of gov­ern­ment at Clare­mont McKen­na Col­lege and co-author of The Per­fect Tie: The True Sto­ry of the 2000 Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tion, says as votes were count­ed and Bush’s lead grew, TV net­works retract­ed their pre­ma­ture call of Gore, instead giv­ing the state to Bush.

“When the lead shrank to about 2,000 votes in the ear­ly hours of the morn­ing, TV reversed again, rescind­ed the call for Bush, and declared Flori­da as yet unde­ter­mined,” he says. “The ini­tial prob­lem was fail­ure of the exit polls, for which they lat­er overcompensated.”

The result of the 2000 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion end­ing in such a close call wasn’t a huge sur­prise: Accord­ing to The Per­fect Tie, the Gallup track­ing poll showed nine lead changes dur­ing the fall cam­paign, with Bush hold­ing a slight lead in the final week of the cam­paign, and Gore gain­ing a swing in momen­tum on Elec­tion Day.

As it became clear the final vote in Flori­da, which would decide the elec­tion, was basi­cal­ly a tie, Gore rescind­ed his con­ces­sion dur­ing a phone call. Bush, accord­ing to The New York Times, asked, ”You mean to tell me, Mr. Vice Pres­i­dent, you’re retract­ing your con­ces­sion?” That was fol­lowed by Gore’s response: ”You don’t have to be snip­py about it,” and, ”Let me explain some­thing. Your younger broth­er is not the ulti­mate author­i­ty on this.”

Gore was refer­ring to the fact that Florida’s gov­er­nor at the time was Jeb Bush, Bush’s younger broth­er. Fur­ther fuel­ing the fire: Kather­ine Har­ris, Florida’s sec­re­tary of state, charged with over­see­ing an impar­tial elec­tion, was a Repub­li­can who served as co-chair of Florida’s Bush for Pres­i­dent elec­tion committee.

“When an elec­tion is this close, and close­ly fought, a recount along these time­lines is to be expect­ed,” says Rick Hasen, pro­fes­sor of law and polit­i­cal sci­ence at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine, and author of The Vot­ing Wars: From Flori­da 2000 to the Next Elec­tion Melt­down. “The Franken-Cole­man recount of the Min­neso­ta Sen­ate race in 2008 took almost nine months to ful­ly resolve. But for a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion we need final­i­ty much soon­er, mak­ing every­thing more difficult.”

VIA HISTORY

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