The Bush versus Gore, 531 US 98 is one of the most prominent cases to be tried in the American courts and it amassed a lot of attention worldwide. It pitied two presidential candidates George Walker Bush and Albert Arnold Gore Jr. who faced off in relation to election results.
Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), was a decision of the United States Supreme Court on December 12, 2000 [Source]. It “settled a recount dispute in Florida’s 2000 presidential election between Bush and Gore”.
Background of the Case
The court case followed the November 2000’s general elections, in which Bush and Gore were competing for the presidential office. During the late hours on the election day, there was no sign of a clear winner. The media were throwing around controversial outcomes in relation to poll numbers. Results obtained from Oregon and New Mexico were not enough to declare the victor. It was going to take more time to get the final results, so everyone had to shift their focus to Florida [Source].
An earlier projection from Gore’s camp declared him the winner in Florida. Gore suggested that Bush concede. Yet, a huge upset came when Bush emerged victorious in that state. This meant Gore’s team had not noticed how close the Florida race was between Gore and Bush.
It was initially reported that Bush was to be a winner in Florida with 1 784 votes. This was less than the “one-half one percent” required so a Florida law called for a recount [Source]. After two days, the machine recount decreased that margin to 327 for Bush. In such circumstances, a candidate can request for a manual recount and Gore did so.
The recount was deemed hard to carry out because counties would fail to meet the deadline for certifying elections. They had to do that to the Florida Secretary of State within seven days of the elections. Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris wanted justification in writing for late submission. None of the given justifications were deemed to be fair and she certified Bush as the winner.
Lawyers from the competing candidates flooded Florida. Charges of conflict of interests were put forward. “Bush’s brother Jeb was the governor of the state. Secretary of State Katherine Harris was Co chair of Bush’s Florida campaign. Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth headed the Gore campaign”.
Bush versus Gore Case in Florida Supreme Court
After Harris’s decision of awarding Bush the victory, Gore’s legal team explored for other options to challenge this decision. It was able to get an order from the Florida Supreme Court for a statewide manual recount. According to the court, recounting of ballots was supposed to continue in some counties. This was said to be necessary to bring clarity on all discrepancies seen in the outcome of the election.
The Outcome of Bush vs Gore Case
But on the next day, the US Supreme Court made a stern decision in this heated case. On December 12, 2000, in a 7–2 ruling, the U.S. The Supreme Court overturned the Florida Supreme Court’s decision that manual recounts of ballots should continue in some counties. They held that the various methods and standards of the recount process violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The US Supreme terminated all recount processes in Florida and Bush was gifted with the state’s 25 electoral votes. He was now leading with 327 votes out of six million cast as initially doled out by the machine recount in November. With Florida’s votes, Bush won the presidency and Gore conceded defeat on December 13. He addressed the public on television by saying “While I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it.”