Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 2012

Abstract

In the stiff competition for worst Supreme Court decision ever, two candidates stand heads above the others for the simple reason that they precipitated actual fighting wars in their times. By holding that slaves, as mere chattels, could not sue in court and could never be American citizens, and further invalidating the Missouri Compromise, which had prohibited slavery in new territories, Dred Scott v. Sanford charted the course to secession and Civil War four years later. By disenfranchising Florida voters and thereby appointing popular-vote loser George W. Bush as President, Bush v. Gore set in motion events which would lead to two wars, neither of which is concluded over a decade later, as well as an unregulated greed-fest on Wall Street that continues to unhinge our economic well-being. As Professor Laurence Tribe, one of Vice President Gore’s lawyers, observed with understatement recently: “Some wrongfully decided Supreme Court decisions can be belatedly righted. Bush v. Gore cannot.”