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Thursday, December 31,2009

A look back at the Aughts

By Pamela White

2000: Election/Selection 2000

Scrambled election reviewed

Nov. 16, 2001

Anyone who went to bed early on Tuesday, Nov. 6, awoke to the unusual news that the presidential race was still undecided. Thus began more than a month of waiting, recounts and debates about hanging chads. Then on Dec. 12, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a per curiam decision that Florida’s method for recounting ballots violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ruling gave the state of Florida, and the presidency, to George W. Bush.

In his autobiography My Life, President Bill Clinton wrote, “If Gore had been ahead in the vote count and Bush behind, there’s not a doubt in my mind that the same Supreme Court would have voted 9 to 0 to [re]count the vote, and I would have supported the decision. ... Bush v. Gore will go down in history as one of the worst decisions the Supreme Court ever made, along with the Dred Scott case.”

Boulder Weekly had its own take on the election and the wrangling that would follow. In “Election 2000: It may get uglier,” Editor Wayne Laugesen explored the impending legal battle resulting from the controversial election and examined the fears of many that the upcoming mayhem would result in bribes and violence.

Media critic Norman Solomon took the television networks to task for their half-assed coverage of the debacle in “TV networks compound the voting crisis.” Solomon discussed how competitiveness and the priority of profits over accuracy fed the fiasco.

But this issue of the paper is best remembered in the newsroom for the art on its cover. If folded correctly, the cover headline changed from the wordy, “No shortcuts to liberty. We must never forget. Scrambled election reviewed,” to the succinct, “No liberty. We get screwed.” Better yet, the image of the Liberty Bell transformed into a large dildo. Yes, a dildo.

Art Director Sue France, who designed the cover, was inspired to create the folding cover by her favorite magazine, Mad Magazine.

Whether you agree that the Supreme Court screwed us all or not, there can be little doubt that this court decision has had consequences that we are feeling still.

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