The Return of Rutherfraud B. Hayes
A few useful commentary links on the U.S. Supreme Court 2000 election decision, compiled by David Bratman:
Here are some comments from people openly designating themselves as conservatives:
- Mark H. Levine -- "I'm a lawyer. I read it. It says Bush wins, even if Gore got the most votes."
- Gary Kamiya -- "What the court ruled, when you get down to it, was that democracy shouldn't be allowed to get in the way of bureaucracy."
- Editors of The New Republic -- "The Supreme Court of the United States has made itself a party to this dread of the democratic truth. We disrespectfully dissent."
- Jeffrey Rosen -- "Things do not have constitutional rights; people have constitutional rights."
- Jonathan Chait -- "A ruling so transparently incoherent that one does not even need any special understanding of law to grasp its vacuity."
- Michael Kinsley -- "It's not easy to get to the conclusion that the Constitution requires you to order that thousands of votes must not be counted."
- Michael McConnell and Alan Brinkley -- "The ending we have reached is about the worst that anyone could possibly have imagined."
- Herman Schwartz -- "This election was stolen under color of law."
- Prof. Michael C. Dorf -- "Call it a bait and switch or a Catch-22."
- Prof. Neal Kumar Katyal -- "The unsigned majority opinion can be summed up simply: It is lawless and unprecedented."
- Mary McGrory -- "They became involved on Nov. 24 through their own folly."
- Marie Cocco -- "The mobs in the street lend atmosphere, but they are merely a diversion from the central plot."
- Jonathan Freedland -- "Americans will now regard the judges as politicians just like everyone else."
- Vincent Bugliosi -- "If what these Justices did was not morally reprehensible and a wrong against society, what would be?" Letters in reply
- Prof. David A. Strauss -- "The decision in Bush v Gore was not dictated by the law in any sense -- either the law found through research, or the law as reflected in the kind of intuitive sense that comes from immersion in the legal culture."
- Renata Adler -- "No matter where you look at it, you find something specious, mischaracterized, incoherent, internally inconsistent, false."
- Tom Tomorrow -- "... and then on Tuesday, we issue a decision denying the recount -- because the deadline has now passed." And here -- "It is the decision of this court that the recount -- which we stopped four days ago -- will only be valid if it is completed by the deadline -- two hours from now."
- Ruben Bolling -- "I rule in favor of this gentleman -- the one who just finished eating the brownie." And here -- "I'm the model of judicial consistency! I'll reach the same result no matter what the facts or law!" And here -- "This misbegotten banana republic can't even offer its citizens decent public education or health care!"
Many excellent articles are at Campaignwatch.org. A site with more links, compiled by M.E. Cowan, is here.
- John DiIulio (later appointed head of Bush's Office of Faith-Based Programs) -- "To any conservative who truly respects federalism, the majority's opinion is hard to respect."
- W. John Walsh -- "The Republican side ... know the votes were cast for Gore, they just want to find some way to legally exclude them from the totals."
It's curious, however, that few commentators mention one thing. Many have observed that the
Supreme Court decision effectively stopped recounts on the grounds of equal protection because of differences between counties in the standards of counting questioned ballots. What has not been observed is that the certified result left in place is even more inequitable, consisting as it does of recounts completed in all but two counties -- the one which completed the recount an hour after the arbitrary deadline, and the one which abandoned its recount after being threatened by a mob determined to stop the counting of votes by any means necessary. For more on that, see:
- Phil Agre here, here, and here -- "A United States Congressman explicitly ordered a gang to attack the offices of an election commission with the express purpose of shutting down the counting of votes in a presidential election." [These links are broken; part of the information is also available here]
- Robert Wright -- "You might think that conservatives would be slightly abashed about winning a presidential election through physical intimidation."
- Teresa Nielsen Hayden -- "This mob explicitly came to stop a normal, legitimate, legal, conducted-under-intense-bipartisan-scrutiny electoral process."
My comment, December 15, 2000 --
The election is over, and Bush will be President. If Al Gore can accept that, so must we all. It's not as if a definitive result was overturned -- but then, we don't have a definitive result, do we? Some have said they feel relief that it's over. It may be over, but I feel no relief. We have an end, but no conclusion. It's like a piece of music which ends but without a tonic chord. All along the Bushies have desperately tried to stop the counting of ballots, for fear that they might lose, and now they've succeeded in running out the clock. We don't know what the dimpled ballots actually toted up to, we don't have a definitive ruling that they're either valid or invalid, and the insistence (particularly by Scalia in his comments on the stay) that There Are Some Things (vote counts) Man Was Not Meant To Know is both creepy and totally out of keeping with the entire history of U.S. contested election practice.
A further comment, March 23, 2003 --
"We like nonfiction, [but] we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president, [who is] sending us to war for fictitious reasons." -- Michael Moore
The best collection of legal documents related to all the election cases is Stanford Law School's.
We now return you to our regular web page.
Copyright 2000 David S. Bratman
Last updated: March 23, 2003; links updated Sept. 15, 2007