Justice O’Connor’s Second Thoughts

May 3, 2013
posted by Bob Bauer
Justice O'Connor, in second thoughts about Bush v. Gore, is troubled that the Court might have erred in taking the case. The objection to Bush v. Gore that she does not address is the one aimed at the outcome—that the Court's fault in injecting itself in the case is compounded by the extraordinary flaw in the decision it reached. To O'Connor, the issue seems to be one of the Court’s reputation; for many others, it is one of result, which is the true cause of the reputational harm done. Her reasoning in this instance brings to mind her expressed regrets about her vote in another elections case, Minnesota Republican Party, v. White, 536, U.S. 765 (2002), and exposes a problem in her view of the Court’s proper role in electoral disputes.