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Bush v. Gore

The Legacy Of Bush V. Gore

On January 6, 2001, Congress met to count the electoral college votes. Bush was declared the winner by a 271-266 margin, with one of Gore's electors abstaining in protest over the District of Columbia not having statehood. Fourteen days later George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd president of the United States.

Following the inauguration, several news services set out to determine who "really" won the 2000 presidential race, attempting to conduct their own manual recounts of the ballots cast in the four contested counties. Most of the news agencies reported that Gore would not have picked up enough additional undervotes to have won the election. However, the Palm Beach Post reported that its examination of approximately 19,000 overvotes cast on the Palm Beach County "butterfly ballot" indicated that Gore lost as many as 6,600 votes.

In early 2003 it was probably too early to fully assess the legacy of Bush v. Gore. Immediately after the U.S Supreme Court announced its decision stopping the recounts and effectively ending the election, liberal commentators condemned the five unelected conservative justices for having "hijacked" U.S. democracy by judicial fiat. Earlier Florida Supreme Court decisions in the Bush v. Gore saga had been assailed by conservative commentators on similar grounds.

Even more temperate Americans were forced to confront the fact that the personal politics of court members may have influenced the outcome of a high-stakes legal controversy: five politically conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in favor of the Republican Party's presidential candidate, which overturned a decision made by the predominantly liberal judges on the Florida Supreme Court in favor of the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, demonstrating that the judiciary's ability to remain independent of partisan politics is compromised when the subject matter of the "legal" controversy involves a cutthroat political battle for the nation's highest office.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Bryan Treaties (Bryan Arbitration Treaties) to James Earl Carter Jr. - Further ReadingsBush v. Gore - Introduction, Election Night, The Controversy Begins, The U.s. Supreme Court Steps In