Tuesday, July 09, 2002
At least they're consistent: Thanks to Instapundit for pointing out this article by Julie Hilden over at Findlaw.com on the Bush v. Gore case that decided the 2000 presidential election. Hilden illustrates that the justices' 5-4 decision in favor of Bush was not based on politics, but on solid, consistent legal reasoning.
Recall that in Bush v. Gore, the same 5-4 conservative majority ruled, just as it did in White, that a state (there, Florida) did not have carte blanche to decide how elections in that state would be held. Instead, the Bill of Rights (there, the Equal Protection Clause) restricted how elections had to occur. In short, the Justices held the very same positions in 2000 that they have this year. They have been consistent and thus, arguably, principled both times.
That casts the common critique of Bush v. Gore severely into doubt. Did the Court really decide the election, casting policy-minded votes just as the voters who went to the ballot box did? Or did the Justices simply decide to adhere to carefully-considered views of how much deference a state deserves to run its own elections? The White decision suggests, perhaps surprisingly, that the answer may be the latter, since the Justices voiced the very same views two years down the road, as well.
Despite what either side claims, the real legal travesty in the 2000 election was just about everything done by the Florida Supreme Court. They are the most partisan group of jurists in this nation.