Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor says Bush v. Gore may not have been a great idea after all.
“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.”
I have no doubt that history will look back at the Bush administration and the Bush v. Gore decision very unfavorably but, on the other hand, we may not have had a President Obama if we didn’t first have a President Bush who showed us all why this country needed a transformative figure such as him so much.
Of course this is little consolation to the tens of thousands of service members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, the people who lost their homes and loved ones in New Orleans, or those whose lives and livelihoods were turned upside down by the 2008 financial crisis. It’s also probably little consolation to those who continue to suffer because George W. Bush transformed a surplus into a record deficit like Supply-Side Jesus and politicized climate change and judicial appointments
The consequences of Bush v Gore will live with us for a very long time.