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Bush v. GoreThe Question of Legitimacy$
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Bruce Ackerman

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780300093797

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300093797.001.0001

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Bush v. Gore

Laurence H. Tribe

Yale University Press

This chapter describes how television transformed the Court's perceptions of the stakes in Bush v. Gore. Intervening without an adequate legal record, the justices allowed TV images to create a false sense of crisis and to distort their understanding of the constitutional requirements of equal protection. The Court's decision is placed in a real-world context, revealing the bankruptcy of its media-driven formulations. No less troubling is the Court's imperative need for order and its disdain for the political branches. It is argued that the Court was wrong to assume the decisive role the Constitution assigns to Congress in electoral disputes. It concludes with the fear that the decision may undermine confidence in the judiciary even when major interventions are actually required by constitutional principle.

Keywords:   Supreme Court decision, television, equal protection, Constitution, electoral disputes

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