In 2000, presidential elections pitted George W. Bush against Al Gore. Election returns indicated that Gore acquired the popular vote although neither obtained the minimum required electoral votes. The conflict hinged on Florida state where the votes for both candidates were so close which pressurized a recount. The Supreme Court was involved in the decision making having the jurisdictions in cases affecting ambassadors, public ministers, and consuls. Constitutional laws were the center of reference in the conflict. The significant conditions that preceded the case were democracy and equality in all the different states.
On November 26, 2000, there was confusion because of the declaration that Bush had emerged to be the winner in the Florida election by a significant margin of 537 votes. Al Gore sued the Secretary of State because the recounting process had not been completed when she certified the results. The Supreme Court in Florida had ruled in favor of Gore, ordering recounting of votes. However, at the same time, George Bush appealed to the United States Supreme Court requesting a halt of recount until arguments from both sides could be addressed (Dworkin 237). In the process, the judges encountered a legal deadline because the federal gave provisions to determine the winners of an election before the Electoral College could meet. Thus, it meant that the court had only one day to decide on the matter.
On the 12th of December, which was the deadline, the court issued an unsigned per curium main decision which was written by specific judges. In the first session, the panel of seven judges agreed that there was a violation of Equal Protection rights because of the lack of existing standards allowing a recount of votes. In another session, a 5-4 vote determined that a solution to recount the votes was impossible since it would be against the safe-labor deadline. Thus, the Supreme Court upheld George W Bush as the president-elect. George Bush gained in the decision made by the court while Al Gore lost and conceded defeat on the following day after the ruling (Goldman 57). Irrespective of the unfolding events, the lawsuit was necessary because elections are a pillar of any nation and should there be dissatisfaction from any parties, instability is likely to be evident after elections. Additionally, the Florida court had ruled for a recount without considering any legal procedures for the process.
I don’t support the decision made by the Supreme Court on the case. The decision to halt all recounting process led to damage of Equal Rights protection which mandates that the right to vote should not interfere by hindering the act of voting or unequal treatment of votes. In a different frame of the court’s decision, the safe harbour clause could be safely ignored as there was no danger of causing harm to the United States (Goldman 57). Fulfilling unnecessary timeline while infringing on the rights of citizens is devastating. Therefore the court blatantly deprived many voters their rights. The Supreme court would have allowed for the votes in Florida to be recounted but being conscious on additional time allowed, one or two days would be enough to declare the winner in the state validly. Both candidates results would be temporarily suspended and pave the way for the exercise. Nevertheless, the step requires a lot of precautionary measures, efficiency and accuracy to ensure there is equal treatment.
Dworkin, Ronald. A Badly Flawed Election: Debating Bush V. Gore, the Supreme Court, and American Democracy. New York: New Press, 2002. Print.
Goldman, Jerry. Bush V. Gore. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2002. Print.