Decision 2020

Bush v. Gore Lawyers: 2020 Court Fight is Not Similar to 2000

Lawyers involved in the controversial Bush v. Gore decision say the Trump campaign’s lawsuits are not similar at all to their legal fight 20 years ago

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The Trump campaign and Republican supporters have filed at least 30 election lawsuits in six states according to NBC News. Twelve cases remain active, and 18 cases have been dismissed or settled. Courts have not recognized any allegation of fraud.

On Tuesday, President Trump’s lawyers fought with the State of Pennsylvania in Federal Court, trying to stop the final steps in the Presidential election. NBC has projected Joe Biden to be the winner of that state and the electoral college.

President Trump says he wants to take this case all the way to the Supreme Court.

The last time a legal fight over the presidency made it that far, Bush v. Gore, its roots were in Florida. Lawyers on those legal teams, however, tell NBC 6, their case twenty years ago was not at all similar to the president’s case in 2020.

President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani joined the legal fight in the United States District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania Tuesday.

The Trump campaign’s lawsuit attempts to stop the final certification of the state’s election, a project victory for former Vice President Joe Biden. They claim ballots were counted secretly and election officials gave some people an illegal amount of time to fix their mail-in ballot signatures.

Those claims are disputed by the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, Kathy Boockvar.

Barry Richard was George W. Bush’s top Florida lawyer in the 2000 legal fight in Bush v. Gore.

“Other than the fact that they’re both in courtrooms and they both involve candidates for President, there aren’t many similarities,” Richard said.

Just because a side doesn’t like the outcome, Richard describes, doesn’t mean there’s a legal case for fraud in the process.

“It’s difficult because so far I haven’t seen any evidence that should sustain the lawsuits. I think they’re going to be dismissed,” Richard said.

Currently, the Biden lead in Pennsylvania is more than 70,000 votes. Twenty years ago, Bush won the state of Florida by a mere 537 votes.

“They were a few hundred votes apart in one state back in 2000. It was just so close,” said Gerry McDonough, one of the Gore lawyers in Florida.

The lawsuit back then was over the way the ballots were made - with hanging chads and butterfly design - and which ballots should be counted again in the recount. The Supreme Court eventually ruled 5-4 to stop the Florida recount, leaving Bush the winner by 537 votes.

Trump’s lawsuit now hopes to toss out votes cast for the November 3rd election. There is also a recount underway in Georgia.

“From everything I’ve seen in elections, the possibility for them to prevail in any of this is like less than zero. There’s nothing there. There’s no there-there,” said McDonough.

Karl Rove, Bush’s top political advisor in 2000, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Trump is within his rights to ask for recounts and file suit if he deems necessary but ”Once his days in court are over, the President should do his part to unite the country by leading a peaceful transition and letting grievances go."

President Trump continues to claim incorrectly that he has won the election.

Pennsylvania is still on track to certify the count next Monday, without a court order stopping the process. President Trump’s legal team has ongoing lawsuits in Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Biden is projected to win the electoral college with 306 votes. The same amount President Trump won in 2016, when he called it a “landslide.”

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