CHICAGO — Speaking to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor openly questioned the wisdom of the Supreme Court’s decision to take up the George W. Bush v. Al Gore case which settled the 2000 Presidential Election.
“Maybe the court should have said ‘we’re not going to take it, goodbye,’ ” she said before adding, “Because really, I mean talk about a complete disaster. But [fellow Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia double-dog dared me and [fellow Supreme Court Justice Anthony] Kennedy and we couldn’t back down and show weakness.”
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 Bush v. Gore decision in December 2000 ended a manual vote recount in Florida that had been mandated by the Florida Supreme Court, thus cementing Florida Secretary of State and co-chair of the George W. Bush Florida election campaign Katherine Harris’ impartial certification of George W. Bush as the winner.
“I thought it would be a real hoot,” said O’Connor. “You know, the idea that the federal government would step in and tell one of the states how to conduct their election this one time. I didn’t think anyone would take us seriously. Sweet Jesus was I wrong.”
O’Connor went on to describe how Justice Scalia plied her and Justice Kennedy with large quantities of alcohol just before the vote. “Quite frankly, we were three sheets to the wind when the vote went down,” admitted O’Connor. “I could barely walk, and I’m pretty sure [Supreme Court Justice] Clarence [Thomas] wasn’t wearing anything under his robe.”
O’Connor says she realized the severity of her mistake immediately. “I kept waiting for someone to yell ‘psyche!’ But as the decision was read and no one jumped out laughing, it dawned on me that maybe we’d just really screwed America over,” she said. “My life has been a living Hell ever since that moment.”
She then quietly sobbed into her hands, muttering over and over, “May God have mercy on my soul.”