Thursday, October 21, 2004

Whereas we often hear "9-11 changed everything," what we hear much less is "the Supreme Court's ruling on 'Bush vs. Gore' changed everything." There's a very good chance that thanks to the Court's odd and highly suspect ruling favoring Bush, precedence has been established to enable countless legal challenges over voter disputes, MUCH more than at any time prior to 2000. We already know that both parties have thousands of lawyers on the payroll, ready to act when called upon post-November 2nd.

George Will has recently written about this topic, as has Jeffrey Rosen. Will cites how the conservative National Review, though pleased with Bush designated president, questioned the Court's reasoning at the time, stating "It is unclear why—with the different vote tabulation systems from county to county, with different levels of accuracy—this line of reasoning wouldn't render Florida's entire electoral system unconstitutional. Or, for that matter, the nation's electoral system. In fact, all of life can be considered a violation of the equal protection clause."

Even this right-wing publication, deep-down, understood that the Court's decision not only was based on faulty legal logic, but in effect laid the groundwork for numerous future legal disputes when it came to election results. Will we ever again have close decisions that aren't ultimately taken to court? It stands to reason the answer is "no" so get used to the fact that we'll no longer know the winners of elections by simply staying up late on election night, tuning in to network news.

As for this upcoming election, Rosen writes, "What’s striking about the legal strategies of the Bush and Kerry [legal] SWAT teams is how much they plan to rely on Bush v. Gore, which turns out to be an inexhaustible font of rhetoric and novel lawsuits.... The fact that no one knows what Bush v. Gore means is an invitation to litigation."

How ironic, the right-wing majority-ruled Supreme Court handed down a dubious decision that invites ample future legal action -- exactly what Republicans have been fighting against (tort reform, excessive lawsuits, etc.). They can thank their buddy Scalia et al.

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