Bench Memos

Bush v. Gore, Ten Years On

Today is the tenth anniversary of Bush v. Gore.  George Will has a very smart take on the case in today’s Washington Post.  A fascinating contrast is Jeffrey Toobin’s take on it in The New Yorker.  Toobin seems to speak for those law professors of the left, who have never forgiven the Court for its decision, when he ends his piece by saying the ruling “damaged the Court’s honor.”  But that view has no evident traction outside the left-wing legal professoriate.  Most Americans, I would warrant, either agree with Will’s characterization–”Once Gore summoned judicial intervention, and Florida’s Supreme Court began to revise state election law, it probably was inevitable that possession of the nation’s highest political office was going to be determined by a state’s highest court or the nation’s”–or have forgotten the case almost completely, and even forgotten what they once thought of it.  There was an awful lot of Sturm und Drang ten years ago, but as much as the left wishes it were otherwise, Bush v. Gore will never be their Roe v. Wade.  It doesn’t stir such passion because it cannot, and it cannot because there is no persuasive argument that the decision should have gone for Gore.

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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