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BUSH V. GORE by Bruce Ackerman


The Question of Legitimacy

edited by Bruce Ackerman

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-300-09379-9
Publisher: Yale Univ.

A stunning collection of real-world legal rustications that consider the meaty issues behind and released by the Gore/Bush electoral debacle, assembled with a niftily guiding hand by Yale law professor Ackerman (The Stakeholder Society, 1999, etc.).

Most of the legal thinkers here, conservative and progressive alike, from Berkeley to Yale, from court of appeals judge to ex-solicitor general or representative to the Council of Europe, consider the machinery of government to have misfired when it came to the presidential election of 2000. Some writers try to argue that the outcome was the best in an imperfect world and that the ad hoc response of the Supreme Court was appropriate. But the more compelling arguments suggest that the Court’s actions cast a pall over the presidency and over itself by playing partisan politics and wielding arbitrary power, robbing Congress of its constitutional role in electoral disputes and making palpable a new interventionism on the part of the Supreme Court. The greatest lasting damage—beyond a cynicism about the legal process—lies in the Court’s trumping of the rule of law: The problem was not a crisis (no matter what CNN said), and it in no way condoned the beaching of judicial norms and legal principles. The fallout will be far-reaching, including a new lack of confidence in the Court’s accountability, if not its very legitimacy. No one thinks this denigration of the legitimacy of democratic resolution will cripple the Constitution—live and learn, but for heaven’s sake learn—though it’s scary to think that the Senate may be the only institution capable of controlling what has become a rogue Court.

No chilly legal-think here, but impassioned and piquing interpretations of law and its application or misapplication in the presidential election of 2000.