The ten year anniversary came and went last week with little, if any, media attention. The minority of Americans with a functional memory vividly recall December 12, 2000 as the definitive point in history that democracy was finally killed in the US by the radical Right. As for the corporate media, they didn’t really care too much about bringing attention to this anniversary of a very crucial Supreme Court decision.
I suppose it may be due to our new era of bi-partisan “looking forward”. I’d guess that’s the reason why we can’t look back and investigate anything involving the Bush/Cheney cartel. I have a feeling Obama will be investigated up the wazoo soon after the next Republican congress gets together. But that’s different, right?
It is no exaggeration to say democracy was crushed when the Right Wing majority of the Supreme Court denied the majority of American voters a fair recount in Florida on December 9th, and gave the presidency to George W. Bush on December 12th. The half million more Americans who voted for Gore over Bush had their voices silenced by a Right Wing majority of five of nine.
The US had suffered a coup d'état.
Little did unsuspecting Americans know at the time that the prejudice, bias and cronyism of Republican Supreme Court justices would seal the fate of a nation, along with uncounted thousands of human lives in the ensuing wars of choice. The case of Bush v Gore reeked of conflict of interest and was devoid of precedent, law, and justice.
As a dark omen of the cronyism to come, we know the friendship between Justice Scalia and Dick Cheney went back over a quarter of a century. Perhaps if Dead-eye Dick had shot his duck hunting pal instead of his quail hunting pal things would have turned out better for the world.
Of course the Scalia/Cheney cronyism was not the only influence. Rehnquist, Thomas and O’Connor all had issues of conflict of interest as well.
For those with enough curiosity and interest in our recent history, I’d like to offer you revealing look at the likely, or even illegal, conflict of interest in that Right Wing court decision. These are but a few snippets from: The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Spring 2003 by Neumann, Richard K Jr
Conflicts of interest in Bush v. Gore: Did some justices vote illegally?
On December 9, 2000, the United States Supreme Court stayed the presidential election litigation in the Florida courts and set oral argument for December 11. On the morning of December 12-one day after oral argument and half a day before the Supreme Court announced its decision in Bush v. Gore-the Wall Street Journal published a front-page story that included the following:
Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 76 years old, and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, 70, both lifelong Republicans, have at times privately talked about retiring and would prefer that a Republican appoint their successors. . . . Justice O'Connor, a cancer survivor, has privately let it be known that, after 20 years on the high court, she wants to retire to her home state of Arizona . . . . At an Election Night party at the Washington, D.C., home of Mary Ann Stoessel, widow of former Ambassador Walter Stoessel, the justice's husband, John O'Connor, mentioned to others her desire to step down, according to three witnesses. But Mr. O'Connor said his wife would be reluctant to retire if a Democrat were in the White House and would choose her replacement. Justice O'Connor declined to comment.
In a story published the following day, Christopher Hitchens, the United States correspondent for the Evening Standard of London, wrote that "O'Connor . . . has allegedly told her friends and family that she wishes to retire from the Court but won't do so if there is to be a Democratic president to nominate her replacement." Helen Thomas, a nationally syndicated columnist, wrote that "[t]he story going around [Washington] is that a very upset Justice Sandra Day O'Connor walked out of a dinner party on election night when she heard the first mistaken broadcast that Vice President A Gore had won. The ailing O'Connor apparently wants to retire, but not while a Democrat is in the White House and could pick her successor." Various parts of this story were repeated in a number of publications.
The following week, Newsweek published a more detailed account:
[A]t an election-night party on Nov. 7, surrounded for the most part by friends and familiar acquaintances, [Justice O'Connor] let her guard drop for a moment when she heard the first critical returns shortly before 8 p.m. Sitting in her hostess's den, staring at a small black-and-white television set, she visibly started when CBS anchor Dan Rather called Florida for Al Gore. "This is terrible," she exclaimed. She explained to another partygoer that Gore's reported victory in Florida meant that the election was "over," since Gore had already carried two other swing states, Michigan and Illinois.
At the time Bush v. Gore was decided, Chief Justice Rehnquist had often been described in the press as a person who would like to retire but would delay doing so until a Republican president was in office and in a position to nominate a successor who could be confirmed by the Senate.
The press has reported several times that Justice Scalia confided in others that he would like to become the next Chief Justice and that he understood that that could happen only during a Republican presidency. During the time Bush v. Gore was being litigated, Justice Scalia's son John worked at the law firm that represented the Bush campaign in the Florida courts, and Justice Scalia's son Eugene was a partner at the law firm that represented the Bush campaign in the Supreme Court.
On December 4, 2000-while Bush v. Gore was pending before the Supreme Court-Virginia Lamb Thomas, Justice Thomas' wife, sent an email to 194 Congressional aides, suggesting that if they wanted assistance in being considered for positions in the next administration, they could forward their resumes to one of Mrs. Thomas' coworkers at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that collaborates with the Republican Party. In addition, according to the Wall Street Journal, during her previous employment with a Republican leader in House of Representatives, Mrs. Thomas "spearheaded a leadership effort to gather embarrassing information about the Clinton-Gore administration."
As Justice O’Connor said, “This is terrible!”
Well, maybe, Sandi, but you ain't seen nothin’ yet.