New Documents Shine Concerning Light On Former Supreme Court Justice

Justreleased documents from the late Justice John Paul Stevens archives have shed light on the Supreme Courts ruling in the 2000 presidential election, and the role played by Justice Sandra Day OConnor in the landmark decision.

The documents, released on Tuesday, reveal that OConnors fourpage memo was circulated among the justices even before oral arguments were heard. This memo, which was endorsed by fellow conservativecentrist Justice Anthony Kennedy, played a major role in pushing out an argument advanced by thenChief Justice William Rehnquist.

The documents show how OConnor and Kennedy effectively steered the outcome of Bush v. Gore, a fivefour decision that stopped county recounts for Floridas decisive presidential electors and gave thenTexas Gov. George W. Bush the victory over thenVice President Al Gore.

The decision, which has been described as one of the greatest threats to the courts vaunted impartiality and institutional stature, was handed down on the evening of December 12, 2000, just one day after oral arguments were heard.

OConnors views, expressed in her December 10, 2000, memo, were ultimately endorsed by Kennedy and this helped to shape the final per curiam opinion that spoke for the fivejustice majority.

In her memo, OConnor highlighted the flaws of the ongoing recounts ordered by the state court and noted thatthe Florida Supreme Court provided no uniform, statewide method for identifying and separating the undervotes.

The decision, which mirrored the deep divisions in the county after an election that for weeks remained too close to call, has been viewed as a major milestone in American politics. It has also been seen as a significant moment in the history of the Supreme Court, given the tension among the nine justices being asked to decide a presidential election on short deadlines.

The documents released from Stevens archives offer a firstever look into the behindthescenes negotiations that took place over the case and demonstrate the strong hand of OConnor, who was at the ideological center of the court in this era.

The impact of the Supreme Courts Bush v. Gore ruling remains significant, with echoes of its arguments being used in Donald Trumps attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here