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Souter: 'One More Day' and Gore Might Have Won

Sunday, 09 September 2001 12:00 AM

He told them how frustrated he was that he couldn't broker a deal to win over one more justice – Anthony Kennedy being the obvious candidate. "If he'd had 'one more day – one more day,' Souter now told the Choate students, he believed he would have prevailed," according to an excerpt of an upcoming book by Newsweek Senior Writer David Kaplan.

In the excerpt from "The Accidental President," which appears in the Sept. 17 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, Sept. 10), Kaplan gives a first-ever behind-the-scenes account of the U.S. Supreme Court after it rendered the 5-to-4 vote that gave George W. Bush the presidency. Kaplan writes: "The sands of history will show Bush won by a single vote, cast in a 5-to-4 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court. The vote was Tony Kennedy's. One justice had picked the president."

Kaplan's book excerpt reveals that the animosities within the court spilled over at a gathering of the justices while they were hosting six visiting Russian judges: " 'In our country,' a Russian justice said, bemused, 'we wouldn't let judges pick the president.' The justice added that he knew that, in various nations, judges were in the pocket of executive officials – he just didn't know that was so in the United States.

"Stephen Breyer was angry and launched into an attack on the decision, right in front of his colleagues. It was 'the most outrageous, indefensible thing' the Court had ever done, he told the visiting judges. 'We all agree to disagree, but this is different.' Breyer was defiant, brimming with confidence that he'd been right in his long dissent."

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was more baffled than annoyed, attempting to rationalize the legitimacy of the ruling. "'Are we so highly political, after all?' she said. 'We've surely done other things, too, that were activist, but here we're applying the Equal Protection Clause in a way that would de-legitimize virtually every election in American history,' " Kaplan writes.

"Sometimes you have to be responsible and step up to the plate," Justice Kennedy told the Russians. "You have to take responsibility." Justice John Paul Stevens offered, "I'm so tired. I am just so exhausted."

The excerpt from "The Accidental President" (William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins) also reviews the private goings-on of the Gore and Bush camps. Bush campaign guru Karl Rove was watching MSNBC when the court ruling was announced. He called Bush in Texas; the governor was watching CNN.

"This is good news," Rove told Bush. "No, no, this is bad news," Bush replied. "Where are you now?" Bush asked Rove. "In the McLean Hilton – standing in my pajamas." "Well, I'm in my pajamas, too," said the new president-elect, at 9:00 pm CST.

To get the full story, read Washington Times' reporter Bill Sammon's "

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He told them how frustrated he was that he couldn't broker a deal to win over one more justice - Anthony Kennedy being the obvious candidate. If he'd had 'one more day - one more day,' Souter now told the Choate students, he believed he would have prevailed, according...
Souter:,'One,More,Day',and,Gore,Might,Have,Won
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2001-00-09
Sunday, 09 September 2001 12:00 AM
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