Sandra Day O'Connor still questions Bush v. Gore decision


Bush v. Gore may have been the most anxiety-inducing presidential election of all time.


Chris Hondros

Retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor suggested in a weekend interview with the Chicago Tribune editorial board that the high court should have stayed out of the Bush v. Gore 2000 presidential election.

"It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue," O'Connor said. "Maybe the court should have said, 'We're not going to take it, goodbye.'"

“It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn’t done a real good job there and kind of messed it up," O’Connor added. "And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day.”

O'Connor, now 83, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, becoming the first woman to serve on the high court.

Her swing vote in the 5-4 Bush v. Gore decision resulted in Republican George W. Bush victory over Democrat Vice President Al Gore. The Supreme Court's decision, she said, "stirred up the public" and "gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation."

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O'Connor told CBS's Face the Nation last year that the decision might have contributed to the nation's less than favorable view of the court.

And in a recent interview with NPR, Jeffrey Toobin said “To know Justice O’Connor as I am privileged to do is to know that the word ‘regret’ never passes her lips... Did she regret her vote in Bush v. Gore? Did she regret the Bush presidency? You bet she did, and you bet she does.”