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Bush v. Gore : It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Bush v. Gore, case in which, on December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed a Florida Supreme Court request for a selective manual recount of that state’s U.S. presidential election ballots. The 5–4 decision effectively awarded Florida’s 25 votes in the electoral college—and thus the election itself—to Republican candidate George W. Bush.


On the evening of November 7, 2000, U.S. presidential election between Bush and Democratic candidate Al Gore. Ultimately, came down to Florida. Networks initially projected Gore the winner in Florida, but later they declared that Bush had opened an insurmountable lead. Gore called Bush to concede the election, but in the early hours of the following morning it became apparent that the Florida race was much closer than Gore’s staff had originally believed. Fewer than 600 votes separated the candidates, and that margin appeared to be narrowing. Around 3:00 AM, Gore called a stunned Bush to retract his concession.

The US Supreme Court overturned the Florida decision, holding that the various methods and standards of the recount process violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The court ruled 5–4 on the remedy of the matter, with the majority holding that the Florida Supreme Court’s decision had created new election law—a right reserved for the state legislature—and that no recount could be held in time to satisfy a federal deadline for the selection of state electors.

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