Press "Enter" to skip to content

Processes and responses

By Mike Ruffin At 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision that, on a 5-4 vote, decided the case of Bush v. Gore in George W. Bush’s favor. It was and is a controversial decision. It would have also been controversial had it gone the other way. Gore had won the popular vote by over half a million votes. But, once Bush had Florida in his column, he had the majority of the Electoral College votes. I’ll be upfront and tell you’”surely to the surprise of no one who knows me and/or reads my writings’”that the decision didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. I voted for Gore because I thought he’d be a better president than Bush, so I wanted the Court to rule in his favor. But it didn’t. And on the next day, Wednesday, December 13, 2000, Gore conceded the election to Bush. As I understand it, Gore had other options. But he chose to concede so the country could move on. He put what seemed to be the nation’s best interests ahead of his personal political ambitions. I was proud of our nation when no riots broke out in American cities and towns on Thursday, December 14, 2000. While I believed that a flawed system had placed the wrong person in the White House, I was nonetheless grateful that we accepted the results the system had given us. Half of the American electorate didn’t like the way the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, and thus the presidential election, turned out. Many Democrats believed that Bush was an illegitimate president. As time went on, a lot of us didn’t think Bush was a very good president. But we didn’t revolt. We didn’t threaten insurrection. Many of us thought the system had failed, but we begrudgingly accepted the results and tried to move on. Now, some of you are thinking, ‘Yeah, but lots of you turned out after Donald Trump’s win in 2016. You didn’t just accept the results and move on.’ You’re right about that. Many of us turned out and demonstrated (I didn’t, but I have beloved family members and friends who did. I try to do my part by writing) because we believed that, unlike Bush, the newly elected president embodied a rejection of fundamental American principles, not to mention basic human dignity. We believed that the threat to our Constitution and to our nation needed to be identified as such. Now we have reached a point where an impeachment inquiry is underway. We’ll see where it goes. Some of us think it’s necessary, while others of us think it isn’t. That’s a matter of opinion, and everybody has one of those. Here’s what isn’t a matter of opinion: impeachment is the constitutional process for removing a president from office for cause. The relevant clause, found in Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States, reads: ‘The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ The House of Representatives is charged with passing articles of impeachment, and the members of the Senate with serving as jurors in a trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Senators vote on whether to convict or acquit. This is the third impeachment inquiry into a president that the nation has experienced in my lifetime. The House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, but he resigned before the House voted on them. The House impeached Bill Clinton, but the Senate acquitted him. We’ll see where the current impeachment inquiry goes. I’m just asking that we all recognize the legitimacy of the process. This is the process our Founding Fathers set up, and we need to trust it. If, upon its completion, people who are displeased with its outcome feel a need to respond, I hope we will do so in orderly and peaceful fashion. You know, like many people did in the Women’s March on Washington on the day after President Trump’s inauguration.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Website by - Copyright 2021