What If Bush v. Gore Never Happened?
Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, ponders Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case that 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.”
“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’ll go out on a limb and say that O’Connor’s regret has less to do with the court having accepted the case (which it should not have) as it has to do with her voting with the other four conservatives on the bench in the 5-4 decision. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether 9-11 would have happened under a Gore presidency. It would be nice to think that Gore would have taken seriously the August 6 intelligence briefing titled, “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S.” instead of dismissing it as Bush did by telling the briefer, “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.”
We can’t know for sure what would have happened with 9-11…but you sure as hell know that had O’Connor not cast her vote with the other Republican-appointed judges in Bush v. Gore, there would have been no Dick Cheney in the administration. No Cheney to bring his neocon fantasies to life would have meant no Iraq war. No Iraq war would have meant no trillion dollar deficit added to the debt. No 4500 dead Americans. No 100,000 to 500,000 dead Iraqis. No added reason to fuel worldwide contempt for America thereby giving rise to more acts of terrorism.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that Sandra Day O’Connor now understands all this and is rational enough to understand that she had a hand in unleashing on to a country and an unsuspecting world, George W. Bush – a simple-minded man of low intellect who was in way over his head from the get-go. The O’Connor decision to stop the ballot count in Florida in 2000 resulted in – quite literally – death, destruction and economic collapse.
O’Connor’s regret is too little, too late. Bush broke the country…and the conservative wing of the Supreme Court is as much to blame as any other single factor.