If retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has any regrets about her tenure on the bench of the nation’s highest court, the decision in Bush v. Gore isn’t one of them.
During a forum at Mexico’s Supreme Electoral Court yesterday, she said allowing a recount in four Florida counties in the aftermath of the 2000 election would have violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause. And, she said, if the recount had been allowed, the outcome would likely have been the same.
“So I’ve stopped losing any sleep over it. I think the result was going to be the same in any case,” O’Connor said as quoted in USA Today. “But it was not a good situation, simply because many people in our country thought, ‘Oh, the Court intervened and decided the election.’ The Court did take the case, and it had the potential of disrupting the election, but in fact I think it did not.”
While she kept mum on the topic of the current presidential election, she did express disappointment at some of the decisions handed down by the Court since she stepped down in 2006. Particularly, she cited the decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, which O’Connor said eroded some of the protections established in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, handed down while she was a justice.
The position in Casey, she said, was “not overturned, but harmed around the edges.”
“There’s no validity to overturning a precedent unless you have a good reason for doing it,” she said.