Issacharoff discusses Bush v. Gore with the New York Times
In the December 22 edition of the New York Times, Professor Samuel Issacharoff offered insights into the legacy of Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end the Florida recount in 2000. "You’re starting to see courts invoke it," noted Issacharoff, the Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law, "and you’re starting to see briefs cite it." Despite the court’s own statement in the majority ruling that “[o]ur consideration is limited to the present circumstances,” lower courts are beginning to use Bush v. Gore to help lend order to chaotic election situations. "Bush v. Gore introduced an important idea," Issacharoff continued. "It is that the political process has rules, the rules have to be fairly applied and that those rules need to be known up front."
For example, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit cited Bush v. Gore last month to allow a challenge to Ohio’s current voting system. Using the decision’s directive that a state may not "value one person’s vote over that of another" as precedent, the Sixth Circuit asserted that an allocation of voting machines that forces citizens in some areas to wait an unreasonable amount of time to vote would violate Bush v. Gore. In Minnesota, Norm Coleman and Al Franken cited the case a combined 20 times in legal briefs concerning the recount in the state's contested senate race. The legal community has yet to come to a consensus on how broadly to apply Bush v. Gore, but it appears that its influence on election law is certain to outlive the tenure of its victor, President Bush.