Hey, former Supreme Court Justice of the United States, Sandra Day O’Connor, I just wanted to say thank you so much for your recent interview with the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board. I really can’t express how awesome it is that over a decade after you cast the fifth vote to end the Florida recount and make George W. Bush the forty-third president, you totally recognize what a boneheaded move that was.
What was it you said?
“‘It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue,’ O’Connor said last Friday. ‘Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.’”
Haha! Yeah that probably would’ve been better. Oh well! Hindsight’s twenty-twenty! No point in crying over spilled milk, a $3 trillion war, torture, a crippled economy, a bunch of dead American soldiers, dead Iraqis, budget-busting tax cuts, a botched hurricane response here, a financial meltdown there, environmental degradation and persecution of government scientists, extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay, or a few hundred other terrible things the guy you voted into office did.
I couldn’t help but watch George W. Bush’s jaw-droppingly insipid, un-self-aware interview with Charlie Rose on CBS, and think to myself, “Man, it is not just a bad dream, it is not just outrageous to think that this guy was president for eight years—it’s downright painful.” Whoever voted for him sure has to feel like a total fool at this point!
And there was O’Connor admitting the court made a poor decision taking the case, that under Florida election law, each county had every right to count ballots based on its judgment of the intent of the voter, and the Supreme Court made a partisan choice to install Bush, the loser of the national popular vote as well as the electoral college by many reasonable (though not all) measures. Even though Jeb Bush and Republican legislature in Florida made a hilariously racist pre-election effort to disenfranchise as many black people as they could, thereby eliminating tens of thousands of votes that would have tipped the election to Al Gore by a comfortable margin, the Bush team still needed an assist from a Reagan-appointee who was overheard doling out conspiracy theories about the Democrats in the days after the election.
Thanks, Sandy. The acceleration of climate change during the Bush years surely made your name more relevant (haha, devastating hurricane joke!).
We, the American people, are so grateful you can look back at the choice you made to pick our president and say to yourself, “Whoopsies, looks like I might have miffed that one.”
Certainly, Sandy, you and your compatriots’ votes have definitely not—repeat, definitely not—given most of us the assumption that the law exists only as a superstructure to protect the interests of the rich, powerful, and connected. It’s not like the guy you voted into office in 2000 picked yours and Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s replacements, thus dooming the country to the thumb of the most regressive decision-making body in a generation. It’s not like you helped give us Citizens United or anything! You weren’t on the court then, so your sterling reputation as a fair and impartial arbiter of the law is unscathed.
So thanks a whole f***ing bunch, Sandy. You will be remembered fondly as a paragon of jurisprudence, who can look back misty-eyed at the end of a long career and life and know that the decision for which you will be most remembered was only a total, abject, unequivocal disaster.