Lesson Plan: The 2000 Election and the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court Case

2000 Election: Legal Strategies for the Bush and Gore Campaigns

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.


  • WARM-UP:

    To begin class, have the students review or research the following question.

    • How does the electoral college work to elect a president?

    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?

    • What was the Gore 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

    • Arguments in Favor of Gore

    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.

    • Summarize the decision in Bush v. Gore. Do you think the Supreme Court was correct in stopping the recount in Florida? Explain your answer with arguments discussed in the lesson.
  • WRAP-UP:

    As a wrap-up, summarize the legacy of Bush v. Gore by answering the following question:

    • What is the legacy of Bush v. Gore?

    Bush v. Gore Oral Arguments- Listen to the oral arguments from the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case. Complete the Oral Arguments Note-taking chart as you listen.

    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?

    • What can be learned from the events surrounding the 2000 election.

Additional Resources


  • Ballot
  • Bush V. Gore
  • Butterfly Ballot
  • Canvas
  • Certification
  • Concede
  • Concession
  • Election Statute
  • Elector
  • Electoral College
  • Equal Protection
  • Fraud
  • Governor Jeb Bush
  • Hanging Chad
  • Injunction
  • Justice
  • Margin
  • Per Curiam
  • Petition
  • Precinct
  • Punch-card Ballot
  • Recount
  • Secretary Of State
  • Supreme Court
  • Vote Tabulation
  • Voter Intent


Campaigns & ElectionsSupreme Court CasesU.S. History


High SchoolUniversity