cover image SUPREME INJUSTICE: How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000

SUPREME INJUSTICE: How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000

Alan M. Dershowitz, . . Oxford Univ., $25 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-19-514827-5

Harvard Law's Dershowitz (Reasonable Doubt, etc.) takes on the now famous, or infamous, Supreme Court decision Bush v. Gore, which ended the recount of votes in Florida and in effect handed the election to Bush. This decision, writes Dershowitz, was "the single most corrupt decision in Supreme Court history," based not on law but on the desire for "partisan advantage" and "personal gain." He launches a three-pronged attack, first on the decision itself, which found that different counties using different methods of hand counts violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. This is, Dershowitz argues in detail, a bizarre and unique application of this clause with no precedents, no clear victim of discrimination and no clear intent of discrimination, and—as the Court stated—applicable to this case alone. He next examines prior decisions of the Court in general and the five individual justices who formed the majority and concludes that nothing in their past remotely indicated their actions here. He thus looks to motivation, and while he finds no "smoking gun," he does suggest the justices were sufficiently partisan that they should have recused themselves from the decision. In short, Dershowitz offers a forceful condemnation of the Court's action, in findings that are strikingly similar to those of Vincent Bugliosi's The Betrayal of America (Forecasts, May 21). But where Bugliosi's prose recalls the fire-and-brimstone of a fundamentalist preacher, Dershowitz, at least at times, writes as if he were addressing a constitutional law seminar at Harvard—interesting if not always exciting. Still, this is an excellent analysis of a troubling case. If these two books are any indication, controversy over Bush v. Gore is not soon to go away. (June 18)

Forecast:Dershowitz, a popular media commentator on legal issues, will be quite busy promoting this new book: On June 18, he'll do the Today Show, Charlie Rose and Rivera Live, and in the following days a host of other national media, as well as national TV and radio satellite tours. Review coverage will undoubtedly be solid. Expect this to pop up on bestseller lists.