Common Cause Reacts to Supreme Court Choice of Bush
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Supreme Court Chose Bush
COMMON CAUSE PRESIDENT SCOTT HARSHBARGER ON SUPREME COURT DECISION IN BUSH V. GORE
Below is a news announcement from Common Cause.
The cloud over this year’s presidential election was not dispelled the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Bush v. Gore. What Americans have witnessed over the last month were both legislative and judicial processes that showed distressing signs of raw partisan divisions. I had hoped that the Supreme Court would have been able to rise above these divisions, and I share some Justices’ concerns about the lasting impact of this outcome on the public’s perception of the Court.
What the Court did provide is finality. It is now the time to move on from this contest over the election and move towards meaningful action on significant issues which are facing our country and our elected officials. The 2000 elections revealed grave threats to our democracy and its perceived legitimacy. Special-interest money poured in record amounts into campaigns as part of often behind-the-scenes efforts to influence the outcome of the election. Many voting systems around the country were revealed to be antiquated and inaccurate. And, it is now clear that the nation will be governed by a President who did not receive the largest share of the popular vote.
The 2000 election should be the last election where the desire for finality, which we all share, will be in conflict with the need to have an accurate count of the votes. In a democracy we can, and must, have both.
At this moment, the response should not be to throw up our hands, shrug our shoulders, curse fate (or another party) and withdraw from the political discourse. This is exactly the moment to engage. There are tangible, practical actions that can be taken in the months ahead to address each of these problems. The question now is whether our elected leaders will have the courage and wisdom to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure that these measures – real campaign finance reform, more uniform voting standards and updated machinery, and direct election of the President – are passed by this Congress.
Senator John McCain has said that he will be bringing his campaign finance reform bill to the Senate floor perhaps as early as January, and challenge the filibuster led by his own leadership. This will be the first opportunity for our elected leadership to show that they understand the imperative to work in a bipartisan manner for real results.
With all that we as a nation have been through over the past month, this is a time for real leaders – for statesmen – to come forward and bring us together. If partisan rancor and mean-spirited rhetoric carry the day, our country will face more division and a less robust democracy, and the gap between the American people and their government will widen.
This is the challenge that faces George W. Bush and the congressional leadership in both parties. The nation will be watching to see who measures up to this most basic, but critically important standard at this time in our nation’s history.
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