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BUSH vs. GORE (2000)
Transcript of BUSH vs. GORE (2000)
Lower Court Verdict
Petition before the Supreme Court
Does this case remain relevant?
Importance/Significance of this Case
The race between V.P. Al Gore (D) and Texas Governor George W. Bush (R) was so close that the results in Florida would decide who would win the race.
Bush was Declared winner, but many problems were reported with the ballots in Florida.
Gore's people sued the state of Florida for a recount, and Bush sued against it.
Florida's Supreme Court ruled in Favor of Gore, and Bush appealed the case, taking it further to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4, in favor of Bush, stating that Florida's Supreme Court ruling was Unconstitutional.
This case still remains relevant today and is still a matter of conflict and debate for many people.
This case made many people question if the Supreme Court's ruling was merely a political thing, since the five justices of the majority were Republican appointees.
In the concluding lines of his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens proclaimed that "one thing ... is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."
A Florida circuit court ruled that while Secretary Harris must respect the deadline for those counties, she could legally amend the certified results, at her own discretion, to reflect any late returns from the outstanding counties.
Florida's Supreme Court case ruled in favor of Gore, and did an automatic machine recount of the ballots.
The recount resulted in a dramatic tightening of the race, leaving Bush with a bare 327-vote lead out of almost 6 million ballots cast.
Gore opted for manual recounts of the votes in certain counties of Florida (which was later ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court)
Arguments for the defendant:
Were different standards used by individual counties in Florida to count the ballots?
Did all counties have to use the state standards or could they use their own standards, where a vote might be counted as good in one county, but not counted as good in another county?
Did the Florida Supreme Court violate Article II Section 1 Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution by making new election law?
Bush v. Gore reasserted the supremacy of the Federal Government in determining the rules by which federal elections are to be held.
The Supreme Court held true to the Constitution and the Clause in the 14th Amendment.
While some celebrated the Court's firm stance on equal rights in the face of political controversy, others criticized the decision as hypocritical and even politically opportunistic.
BUSH v. GORE (2000)
Majority Decision of the Court
Arguments for the plaintiff:
Did the U.S. Supreme Court have the authority to order Florida to issue new standards and disobey the Florida constitution by applying those standards to the 2000 election and extending the vote count time, past the Florida constitutionally mandated certification date for the election?
Did the Supreme Court of Florida violate the U.S. Constitution when it ordered the recount of ballots only in certain districts?
Had the recount already been tainted by shifting methods of vote-counting?
In plain English, the plaintiff really just wanted the final count to be kept the same without extending Florida’s ballot deadline in order to have a manual recount of the ballots (because it was unconstitutional).
The Supreme Court’s majority vote was 5-4 in favor of Bush, ultimately naming him President of the United States.
The majority opinion was that it violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause to extend the ballot counting time past that of what was stated in Florida’s Constitution, which named George W. Bush the President of the United States
They ruled that the Florida Supreme Court's recount order was unconstitutional because it granted more protection to some ballots than to others, violating the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.
Court Justices, Ginsburg and Stevens (writing separately), argued that for reasons of federalism, the Florida Supreme Court's decision should to be respected. Moreover, the Florida decision was fundamentally right; the Constitution requires that every vote be counted.
John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion for the dissent