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In an interview with the Chicago Tribune last Friday, retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has owned up to the fact that taking on Bush V. Gore in 2000 probably wasn't the Supreme Court's most illustrious moment in its history.
"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."
Can you imagine what this country might have been spared if the ballot counting in Florida would have been allowed to continue and Gore would have won? We have no way of knowing what an Al Gore presidency might have held, but I feel pretty safe saying that this country wouldn't possibly have been worse off under his leadership than it was under George W. Bush.
Perhaps the terrible attack on 9/11 was an inevitability no matter who held that office. Obviously we can never know this with any certainty. However, I would be hard pressed to imagine Gore lying this country into an unnecessary war in order to satisfy an opportunistic neocon wet dream.
Part of me wishes that she would have kept her nagging doubts to herself. The anger I felt when the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in 2000 came flooding back. The shoulda woulda couldas had largely scabbed over and have now been picked raw again. I guess publicly admitting her doubts serves a purpose though, even if it is simply to unburden her soul.