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networks first called the key state of Florida for Gore, then for Bush, followed by a concession by Gore that was soon rescinded, the results for who would be the nation’s 43rd president were simply too close to call.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“When the lead shrank to about 2,000 votes in the early hours of the morning, TV reversed again, rescinded the call for Bush, and declared Florida as yet undetermined,” he says.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As it became clear the final vote in Florida, which would decide the election, was basically a tie, Gore rescinded his concession during a phone call.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.”