the rest of the story

November 7, 2000. George W. Bush and Al Gore are neck and neck. TV networks anticipate that Gore will win the state of Florida, and with Florida the Presidency.

November 8, 2000. Whoops. Now Bush is going to win Florida. Actually, wait, we take that back. Florida is too close to call. Sorry about that confusion. By midmorning, a machine recount is underway, and a furor is erupting over "butterfly ballots." Which brings us to the meat of this election:

It's called a campaign, because it is a war. These are the battles:

That day, Gore's lawyers file Fladell v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board to dispute the legality of the butterfly ballot. Judge Jorge Labarga rules that he can't order a revote, and the Florida Supreme Court upholds this claim.


In Florida Democratic Party v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, Gore's lawyers contest Palm Beach's refusal to count dimpled chads as votes. Labarga rules that the intent of the voter has to be considered in the count.


Then, in Siegel v. LePore and Touchson v. McDermott, Bush's lawyers assert that the "selective" recounts violate the equal protection clause of Amendment XIV. In district court, Bush gets smacked down by Judge Donald Middlebrooks: the circuit court upholds the decision, saying that Bush's rights have not been violated.


Then comes McDermott v. Harris. Gore's lawyers say that Katherine Harris, the secretary of state, cannot certify returns from disputed counties. Judge Terry Lewis rules that Harris can do whatever she damn well pleases. Ouch!


So Gore goes back to Tallahassee, Florida in Palm Beach County Canvassing Board v. Harris, which contests Harris's authority once more. The Florida Supreme Court overrules Lewis's earlier decision, saying that Harris needs to wait until the disputed counties are recounted. Dick Cheney has a heart attack.


Getting back into the game, Bush's lawyers do a decidedly liberal thing and ask for federal intervention. In Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, the United States Supreme Court rules, 9-0, that the Florida Supreme Court was wrong, wrong, wrong! They send the case back to Florida and tell them to do it right this time. Republicans stand and applaud.

December 4, 2000: GORE 3 BUSH 3

Sensing that their current line of attack is failing, Gore's lawyers make their own comeback by filing Gore v. Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board, accusing Miami-Dade County of illegally halting its recount. The Florida Supreme Court tells Gore to take a hike.

December 8, 2000: GORE 3 BUSH 4

Two in a row! Gore's lawyers file suits in Taylor v. Martin County Canvassing Board and Jacobs v. Seminole County Canvassing Board, alleging that absentee ballots are being filled in by Republican lackeys. Terry Lewis and Nikki Clark, respectively, rule against Gore in both cases.

Then, in Harris v. Florida Elections Canvassing Commission, district court and circuit court judges rule that absentee ballots can be accepted after Election Day, despite possible language to the contrary within the Florida Statutes. This is a good thing for Bush.

Gore makes his last assault in Gore v. Harris, saying that "illegal votes" are threatening to tip the vote in Florida. Judge Sanders Sauls rules against him in a major judicial smackdown, but the Florida Supreme Court smacks down Sauls and says that all potential undervotes still have to be manually recounted. Gore sighs in temporary relief.

December 9, 2000: GORE 4 BUSH 8

Bush's lawyers appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court again, in the ultimate suit: Bush v. Gore. On December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court rules, 5-4, that recounting with voter intent in mind violates the candidates' equal protection, and is therefore unconstitutional. Gore is screwed. He concedes the next day.

By a margin of 271 to 266, Bush wins the Electoral College. On January 6, 2001, Gore, fulfilling his duty as Vice President, counts the votes in a joint session of Congress and declares Bush the winner.

Bush takes over the world on January 20, 2001.