Case Title: George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, Petitioners v. Albert Gore, Jr. and Joseph Lieberman, et al.

Battle Over Florida
cool graphic!

Argued on December 11, 2000. Decided on December 12, 2000.

3. William Rehnquist was the chief justice during this case. He was born on October 1, 1924, and died on September 3, 2005. He was born and grew up in Wisconsin. He served in World War II from 1943-1946, and then went to Stanford University. After getting an M.A he went to Harvard University in 1950. He then returned to Stanford to get his law degree, gradating top of his class in 1951. He then went to Phoenix to practice law in a law firm, he remained there until President Nixon was elected, then he went to the Legal Counsel to become a lawyer. After many years of flip flopping and Supreme Court cases, Rehnquist was recommended by President Reagan to take the job of a retired Supreme Court chief justice.

William Rehnquist-Chief Justice

4. Documents or amendments relevant to this case

The documents and amendments that are relevant to the Bush v. Gore case are 1st Amendment (ballot counting), 10th Amendment (powers reserved to the states) , and the 14th Amendment (equal protection clause), and the main documents related to the case are Supreme Court justices’ opinions and Circuit Court opinions. The 1st amendment guarantees freedom of speech and there is case law that connects this amendment to ballot counting which is important to the Bush v. Gore case. The 10th Amendments relates to this case because it reserves all powers to the states that are not spelled out in the Constitution as powers reserved in the Federal government. Which state power is involved here? The 14th amendment gives people due process under the law which relates to this case because each candidate wanted the court to rule them in their favor. Explain.

5. The case Bush v Gore was an interesting case that was all about how Bush had won the popular vote in Florida with a margin of 1,784 votes, but the margin was .5% less of the votes cast. So a recount was ordered and it was an automatic machine recount. Bush’s margin of victory slimmed and it was pointed out that 18 counties never did the recount and this was a fourth of all of Florida’s counties. So Gore requested recounts of four counties that were basically all democratic and this was legal for a candidate to request a recount in Florida. So the recounts are not done in time by the 7 day deadline and Bush and Gore head to court and Gore wanted manual recounts done with a mandatory reasonable deadline where all the counties that he wanted to recount could get it done. Bush was arguing that the recounts were violating the Fourteenth Amendment. This was because there was not a standard that could be applied to the entire state that could decide and garner what a legal vote was.


6. The main issue/argument of the case was bush's winning of Florida. He won by such a small margin, which by name of law (what law?) demanded a recount. During the process of the recount, they found of that Bush's margin of victory decreased from 1,784 votes to 327. The Gore campaign was looking for the discovery of legal votes that might have not been counted by the machine in some counties. The strategy of the Bush campaign was to try to block the efforts of this recount to they could win Florida and move on. Then 5 of the most conservative Supreme Court justices gathered and halted this recount, saying that this would cause harm to the country, by threatening the legitimacy to this election.

7. Decision rendered by the court plus vote
The decision rendered by the Supreme Court was 5-4 in favor of Bush, after a narrow 537 vote victory in Florida. The Florida victory was controversial because of voting irregularities like hanging chads on ballots. Those ballots were contested and could have changed the outcome of the vote. Also this was a very big case for the election, and wanted to make sure that the election was going the right way. This is why the Supreme Court was brought into this case.

Hanging Chads-Incompletely Punched Holes on Ballots
explain what these are!

8. There was a plethora of justices in the Supreme Court case and the votes were spread among two different decisions. One decision was Bush’s case and this was that the recounts of votes violated the Equal Protection Clause that was on the Fourteenth Amendment. This was his plea because the votes were being counted unevenly and the recounts were not occurring in some counties where Bush was likely to gain votes and it varied from county to country whether there were being recounts conducted. The second option was in favor of Gore which was that the Florida Supreme Court had done everything it could do to ensure equal treatment of both parties and all ballots to be treated in the same fashion would require a federal standard for counting votes that was the same throughout the entire process, something that had never been done before. Gore also said that ending the recounts was not an fair way to settle the dispute. He wanted the Court to establish a standard by which the votes should be counted, and then let the ballots be recounted. The vote was 7-2 in favor of Bush and the more conservative justices voted for Bush and the more liberal justices voted for Gore and this created heavy controversy (were there two different votes? You said above that it was 5-4). The justices that voted for Bush voted this way because the vote recounts were being done unevenly and were taking away votes from Bush. The justices that voted in favor of Gore did this because there were laws that interfered with the December 12th deadline and fairness issues that came into play. One justice that voted in favor of Gore dissented that there will not be a clear winner in this year’s Presidential Election but there will be a clear loser and that is the Nation’s confidence and priority in the judge as an impartial guardian in circumstance like these.

9, Justices Involved in this Case
  • Chief Justice: William Rehnquist- On the Supreme Court from 1971-2005 (Became a chief justice in 1985) He was nominated for Supreme Court by Richard Nixon, and to chief justice by Ronald Reagan.(Voted for Bush)

  • Justice Antonin Scalia- On the Supreme Court from 1986-Present. He was nominated by Ronald Reagan (Voted for Bush)
  • Justice Clarence Thomas- On the Supreme Court from 1991-Present. He was nominated by George H. W. Bush. (Voted for Bush)
  • Justice Anthony Kennedy- On the Supreme Court from 1988-Present. He was nominated by Ronald Reagan. (Voted for Bush)
  • Justice Sandra Day O'Connor- On Supreme Court from 1981-2006. She was nominated by Ronald Reagan. (Voted for Bush)
  • Justice John Paul Stevens- On Supreme Court from 1975-2010. He was nominated by Gerald Ford. (Voted against Bush)
  • Justice David Souter- On Supreme Court from 1990-2009. He was nominated by George H. W. Bush. (Voted against Bush)
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg- On Supreme Court from 1993-Present. Nominated by Bill Clinton. (Voted against Bush)
  • Justice Stephen Breyer- On Supreme Court from 1993-Present. Nominated by Bill Clinton. (Voted against Bush)

Justice Antonin Scalia

10. Personal Opinion of this Case
On the one hand, I agree that the Supreme Court made right the decision because it’s the law of the land (which law? 14th Amendment?). In a important decisions that affect the whole country, if they can’t be decided at the state level the Supreme Court should step in. On the other hand, if a state has voting irregularities they should be handled before a final decision is made. Otherwise the voters feel cheated or their vote wasn’t heard like many Gore supporters today.

11. If this had gone the other way then there would be much more debate about the Equal Protection clause and how it should have been implemented and used relevant to the case. As opposed to how it is now and the debate to why it shouldn't have been used relevant to the case.There also would have been a much closer presidential election between Gore and Bush. The election would have seemed a lot more controversial and unfair also. The way the court case went it seemed as if Bush was pulling strings behind the votes in Florida, and that he was cheating Gore out of votes during the election. If this case had gone the other way, we might have had Al Gore as our president, because this Supreme Court case was very crucial to the election. We might have a whole different economy, maybe better, or worse. Also if the Supreme Court had found out that Al Gore had more votes than Bush after the recount, the Court may have thought that the system at first was not very good, and accurate. These are a few things that would have happened if Gore won this case instead of Bush.



1. Greene, Abner S. "Is There a First Amendment Defense for Bush v. Gore? by Abner Greene :: SSRN." Going to Search. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. <>.

2. Gillman, Howard. "Bush v. Gore: Information from" Wiki Q&A Combined with Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Encyclopedias. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. <>.

3. Ariens, Michael. "William Rehnquist." Michael Ariens. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. <>.

4. University, Cornell. "BUSH v. GORE." LII | LII / Legal Information Institute. 12 Dec. 2000. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. <>.

5. Quinn, Justin. "William H. Rehnquist Biography – A Biography of Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist." Conservative Politics & Perspectives. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. <>.

6. Quinn, Justin. "Antonin Scalia Bio -- A Biography of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia."Conservative Politics & Perspectives. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. <>.

Project, Oyez. "Bush v. Gore | The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law." The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law | A Multimedia Archive of the Supreme Court of the United States. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. <>.

6/7 Biblio -- alphabetize.
25/28 Content -- very good explanation in parts, especially the way you guys examined how the justices voted on the case. But were there two votes?
4/5 Organization -- good graphics, but use captions to tell us who/what they are.

35/40 Total