Interview with Malzberg about Bush v. Gore and the Boston Bombings Part 1

Steve Malzberg Spinning the Law

Kendall Coffey Interview with Malzberg about Bush v. Gore and the Boston Bombings Part 1

MALZBERG:  It’s time again for our friend Kendall Coffey, the author of Spinning the Law, famed attorney….Hey, Kendall!  How are you, sir?

COFFEY:  Happy Friday.  Yeah, the weeks seem to fly by fast….Doesn’t that happen when people are getting older, that time kind of moves faster?

MALZBERG:  It does.  They always say that.  You know, I can remember back to grade school when, you know, you sat in one classroom all day.  It seemed like the day went on forever….The summers seemed like they went on forever, and now?  It’s May!  I mean, it’s May!

COFFEY:  I’m telling you, before you know it….But some great topics today, huh?

MALZBERG:  We do have great topics today, and if I can, I want to start with something, of course, you were involved in, in Bush v. Gore, back in 2000, hanging chads and the voting and the whole thing….You were on the Gore side of the ledger, and so, some interesting remarks—or maybe not so—I’d be very curious to hear what you have to say about this:  Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor expressing doubts now, all these years later, that the Supreme Court should have ruled on that case that helped decide the outcome of the election.

She said, “It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue. Maybe the Court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it.  Good-bye.’”  The Tribune said she said, “It stirred up the public and gave the Court a less-than-perfect reputation.  Obviously the Court did reach a decision and thought it had to reach a decision.  It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn’t done a real good job there and kind of messed it up, and probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day.”

Interesting!  Were you surprised, and what’s your reaction?

COFFEY:  Yeah, I was surprised, and while I certainly disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, I’m not sure I’m crazy about [unintelligible] thirteen years later.  Because one of the things about the decision-making process is, look, you assume the people making the decision, whether you agree with them or not, are making their decision according to their conscience, according to their best view of the law and the facts, and then the system has to move on.

And so I was just intrigued about why the look back…yeah, there was a lot of discussion at the time as to whether the issues seemed to be principally state law issues under Florida’s state election law, why the Supreme Court was getting involved.  But they did.  And while it’s certainly intriguing that she would be questioning whether it was a great idea to have acted as the Court did, I’m not sure if for the image of the Court if it helps to be second guessing itself publically because she was the deciding vote!

What she’s saying is, Gee, maybe Gore should’ve been President after all…you know, that’s the way the decision-making process works, like it or not, you’ve got to make the decisions, we’ve all got to accept them, and then move on.