Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision that stopped the presidential election recount in Florida and handed the 2000 election to George W. Bush.
It's difficult to believe that was already 10 years ago. And it's amazing still that A) the Supreme Court acted in such a blatantly political manner to step in and resolve a state election issue, halting a legal recount, and B) that Americans didn't take to the streets to revolt against the power grab by Bush and his Republican cronies.
Of course, the fact that Bush turned out to be one of the worst presidents in U.S. history makes the whole post-election fiasco even worse. But even if he'd been a halfway decent president, a bad taste lingers in the nation's mouth over the affair.
The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin makes the case that, besides the elevation of Bush to the presidency, the Supreme Court's decision has had a lasting effect on the court's political maneuverings.
"The echoes of Bush v. Gore are clearest when it comes to judicial activism," Toobin writes. "Judicial conservatism was once principally defined as a philosophy of deference to the democratically elected branches of government. But the signature of the Roberts Court has been its willingness, even its eagerness, to overturn the work of legislatures."
Bush appointed John Roberts Chief Justice in 2005. Like most conservative Republicans, Roberts dislikes "activist judges" ... except when he is one.
If you're interested in exploring the topic further, there are several interesting (and wonky) essays about the significance of Bush v. Gore on the Election Law Blog.
Ten years ago yesterday, Bush was elected president by one vote on the Supreme Court. It was far from democracy's finest hour.