MSNBC's 'Verdict' Guest Jonathan Turley says Gore Won Florida in 2000

On last night's "Verdict" with Dan Abrams, Dan and guest [Constitutional Law Professor] Jonathan Turley dissected Sunday's "60 Minutes" interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. After dissenting with Scalia's claim that it was Al Gore "who brought it (election 2000) into the Florida courts," Turley then made the following claim:

Look, both sides were challenging this question. The funny thing of course is that Al Gore appears to have won Florida. And so, when Justice Scalia says he brought this trouble upon himself, that‘s not exactly fair since he apparently won the state, did not get credit for the state and ultimately lost the presidency over that failure.

Gore ... apparently "won Florida?"

Not according to a Miami Herald/USA Today study in early 2001. They say George Bush won Florida. The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago did a six month study and said the same thing. Ditto the Washington Post. And did I mention the New York Times?

Granted, some of the studies above do note that in a few certain defined circumstances, Gore could have eeked out the most slender of victories. But these are clearly in the minority. Perhaps most noteworthy is that a recount with the standard the Gore camp desired would have still made Bush the victor. So, on what basis does Turley make his claim? Was it that now-infamous [Democrat-designed] "butterfly ballot" in Palm Beach which [supposedly] caused thousands to mistakenly vote for Pat Buchanan? Who knows. Turley doesn't say.

Turley gets a bit more leeway later when he states the following:

Well, it is a serious business. And first of all, I don‘t know of any law professor, I certainly have never talked to one who thought that this decision was handled well. The court fractured, came up with a decision in which many of the justices took a position that seemed wholly at odds with their prior positions, then they insisted that no one should ever cite them for what they just said as precedent and then they prevented any other court from taking any other action.

While Turley is nebulous by saying "many of the justices," I think it's clear he means the conservative bloc on the court -- since he then notes that Bush v. Gore shouldn't be used as precedent (which was what the majority stated). But what Turley (and many others, for that matter) seem to forget is that the liberal bloc of the court also took a position that was " wholly at odds with their prior positions." In other words, while the conservatives sided with federal [court] intervention in the Florida matter (against their traditional positions), the liberals favored a states rights position -- against their traditional positions.

Video of Yurley's appearance on "Verdict."

(h/t to NB reader Jeff F.)

Judiciary MSNBC Abrams Report Jonathan Turley