cover of book

The Votes That Counted: How the Court Decided the 2000 Presidential Election
by Howard Gillman
University of Chicago Press, 2001
Cloth: 978-0-226-29407-0 | Paper: 978-0-226-29408-7
Library of Congress Classification KF5074.2.G55 2001
Dewey Decimal Classification 324.9730929

The dramatic struggle over the outcome of the 2000 presidential election presented judges with an extraordinary political challenge, as well as a historic political temptation. In The Votes That Counted Howard Gillman offers a comprehensive yet critical assessment of how well courts coped with the competing expectations for impartial justice and favorable partisan results.

Lively and authoritative, the book documents how the participants, the press, the academic community, and the public responded during these tension-filled thirty-six days. Gillman also provides a serious yet accessible overview of the legal strategies and debates-from briefs and oral arguments to final decisions. However, in explaining the behavior of courts, he moves beyond an analysis of law to also take into account the influences of partisanship, judicial ideology, and broader political and historical contexts.

Appropriately, Gillman pays special attention to the judges whose behavior generated the most controversy—the battling justices of the Florida and United States Supreme Courts. After carefully reviewing the arguments for and against their decisions, he concludes that the five justices behind the Bush v. Gore decision acted outside what should be considered the acceptable boundaries of judicial power. Gillman ends with an analysis of why they chose such an unprecedented course of action and an assessment of whether their partisan intervention will have any lasting effect on the Supreme Court's reputation and authority.

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