Paperback Edition: Updated and with a New Foreword
The nation will not soon forget the drama of the 2000 presidential election. For five weeks we were transfixed by the legal clashes that enveloped the country from election night to the Gore concession. It was instant history, and will be studied by historians, lawyers, political scientists, media critics and others for years to come.
Even for those who followed the events most closely, the legal twists and turns of the post-election struggles seemed at times bewildering. We witnessed manual recounts of election ballots, GOP federal court lawsuits challenging those recounts, two Florida Supreme Court opinions, lawsuits over butterfly and absentee ballots, questions about the role of the Florida legislature and the United States Congress in resolving presidential election disputes, and two United States Supreme Court decisions, the second of which finally handed the election to Bush. Although the 2000 Presidency was decided through much legal wrangling, one should not have to be a lawyer to understand how we came to have Bush rather than Gore as our President in that hotly contested election.
Understanding the 2000 Election offers an accessible, comprehensive guide to the legal battles that finally gave George W. Bush the Presidency five weeks after election night. Meant to stand next to and clarify the numerous journalistic and personal accounts of the election drama, Understanding the 2000 Election offers a offers a step-by-step, non-partisan explanation and analysis of the major legal issues involved in resolving the presidential contest. The volume also offers a clear overview of the Electoral College, its history, what would be involved in switching over to a direct election, and the likely future of the Presidential electoral process. While some still decry the 2000 election outcome as the result of political manipulation rather than the rule of law, Greene shows that almost every legal conclusion of the post-election struggle can be understood through the application of legal principle, rather than politics.
“Abner Greene is not only an outstanding legal analyst but a gifted storyteller. He has given us an extraordinarily thoughtful, illuminating and (happily) highly readable account of the various legal battles fought in the five weeks after the 2000 Election. The author promises to break down the complexity of the legal issues so lawyers and nonlawyers alike can follow along—and he succeeds brilliantly.”
-Yale Kamisar,Clarence Darrow Distinguished University Professor of Law, University of Michigan
“When future historians chronicle the battle of Bush v. Gore, they'll turn to Understanding the 2000 Election. Greene provides a clear, sophisticated, and accessible guide through the thicket of law and politics that surrounded the most surreal Presidential election of modern times.”
“The 2000 presidential election will be remembered as one of the most astonishing political, legal and constitutional events in American history. In Understanding the 2000 Election, Abner Greene traces each step in this extraordinary story with clarity and insight. With a careful eye for detail, and a generous perspective that highlights his sense of the good faith of each of the conflicting participants, Greene offers what will inevitably be a controversial understanding of these events that reveals the 2000 presidential election as a triumph of law and civility over brute politics and unprincipled power.”
-Geoffrey R. Stone,Harry Kalven, Jr., Distinguished ServiceProfessor of Law, The University of Chicago
“Superbly organized, with clarity and concision, Greene's book offers a highly readable, nonpartisan guidebook for those who don't speak legalese.”
-The National Journal