ABC's Terry Moran is a Know Nothing On Bush v Gore

Terry Moran was on the panel on George Stephanopolous' ABC Sunday morning program today, as he was last week. He was introduced  as ABC's Supreme Court "expert."  For the second straight week, Moran misstated the Supreme Court's  vote in Bush v Gore in December , 2000.   The vote to overturn the Florida Supreme Court's decision on how ballots should be counted in the Florida recount controversy was not a 5-4 decision, but 7-2.  Two liberal justices, Breyer, and Souter, agreed with Rehnquist, O'Connor, Kennedy, Thomas and Scalia that the Florida Supreme Court violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

The 5-4 vote was on whether there was still time for the Florida Court to come up with a new more consistent method for counting before the deadline set by Florida for awarding its Electoral College votes. Wikipedia accurately summarizes:

In brief, the breakdown of the decisions was:

▪   Seven justices (the five Justice majority plus Breyer and Souter) agreed that there was an Equal Protection Clause violation in using different standards of counting in different counties.[30]

▪   Five justices agreed that December 12 (the date of the decision) was the deadline Florida had established for recounts (Kennedy, O'Connor, Rehnquist,[31] Scalia and Thomas in support; Breyer,[32] Ginsburg, Souter[33] and Stevens opposed). Justices Breyer and Souter wanted to remand the case to the Florida Supreme Court to permit that court to establish uniform standards of what constituted a legal vote and then manually recount all ballots using those standards.

▪   Three justices (Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas) argued that the Florida Supreme Court had acted contrary to the intent of the Florida legislature. However, four justices (Breyer, Souter, Ginsburg, and Stevens) specifically disputed this in their dissenting opinions, and the remaining two Justices (Kennedy and O'Connor) declined to join Rehnquist's concurrence on the matter.

Moran is either uninformed, or deliberately disregards the history of the case in order to advance a thesis that an activist conservative majority on the Court is pushing through an agenda by 5-4 votes. Neither explanation is of much credit to him, but both seem to serve as credentials for being network experts on the Supreme  Court. 

Of course Moran and  his colleagues are deeply wedded to  another misstatement that Moran made last Sunday: that the Court awarded the 2000 election to George W. Bush. They did nothing of the sort.


Bush led on election night, after the machine recount, after the partial county recounts were added, after the military vote was added, and in the recounts conducted by news organizations counting all the under-votes, after the election was decided.  Had the Court thrown the case back to the state of Florida, the state might not have had the time to get a final count to use before the Electors needed to be selected. In that case, the  Florida legislature had indicated it would step in and would have  awarded the state's 25 Electoral College votes to Bush. So too, if no Florida Electoral College votes were submitted, neither Bush, nor Gore would have had the 270 needed to win, and the U.S. House, voting by states, would have also awarded  the election to Bush. Terry Moran may be unhappy with the results, but I suspect this is all too complex for him, and would require more effort than reading a script written by others on the air.  

Maybe Moran should spend less time in the ABC makeup room, and more time reading the history of the recount controversy. He could start with this article that appeared on American Thinker's opening day, "The Myth of the Stolen Election."