David Savage, longtime Los Angeles Times Supreme Court reporter, talked about the legal strategies that the Bush and Gore campaigns used following election night during the 2000 election.
This lesson looks at the contested 2000 election and the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case. Students will hear from journalists, participants, and archival video to determine the legal issues, arguments, and results of the case. Using this information, students will evaluate the Supreme Court’s decision.
To begin class, have the students review or research the following question.
Review the students’ answers and address any misconceptions about the electoral college.
Introduce the 2000 presidential election by having student view the following video clip. They should answer each question listed below. Students can also use the handout to access these videos and activities.
Digital Handout: The 2000 Election and Bush v. Gore (Google Doc)
Video Clip 1: The 2000 Election: Strategies for the Bush and Gore Campaigns (2:06)
Why was Florida so important to the 2000 presidential election?
How close was the election in Florida on election night?
What was the Bush campaign’s strategy after election night?
After viewing the introductory video clip and setting the stage for the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case, students will explore the events and legal arguments involved in the case.
Students will view each of the video clips and can use the questions to guide their understanding of the events and arguments in the case. They should take notes on the following aspects as the case. Students will later use this information to determine if the Supreme Court was correct in their decision.
Major Events in the Case
Legal Questions in the case
Arguments in Favor of Bush
Video Clip 2: Legal Arguments in the 2000 Election (4:03)
Video Clip 3: Punch-Card Ballots and the 2000 Election (1:56)
Video Clip 4: A Timeline of Events in the 2000 Presidential Election (5:56)
Video Clip 5: Events Preceding the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court Case (5:30)
Using their notes from the lesson, have the students respond to the following prompt. Teachers can choose to use this prompt in a class discussion, debate or written assignment.
As a wrap-up, summarize the legacy of Bush v. Gore by answering the following question:
2000 Election Timeline- Using the information from the videos, develop a timeline of the five most important events during the 2000 election and Bush v. Gore. For each identify the date and explain the significance of the event.
Should the Supreme Court intervene in how states run elections?
What do you think are the consequences of the Supreme Court ruling in Bush v. Gore?
How do you think people’s perceptions of the Supreme Court changed after Bush v. Gore?