by Jake Maccoby and Jordan Zakarin
Mere moments after formally announcing his backing for Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama in an email to supporters, former Vice President Al Gore’s endorsement was blocked and reversed by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, handing the Nobel Prize winner’s full throated support to Republican nominee John McCain.
Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that regardless of who Gore intended to support, a strict constructionist reading of his statement made it clear that, from a legal standpoint, his endorsement must be awarded to the GOP candidate.
“It is plainly obvious, by reading Section One, Clause Four of Article Two, that the framers, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton, were firm in their resolve, that in the 2008 Presidential election, 219 years after ratification, former Vice President Gore, who the constitution also stipulated must lose the 2000 Presidential election regardless of the voters’ wishes, would be required to hand his endorsement and considerable public influence to John McCain, who was himself one of the original framers of Constitution,” Scalia wrote.
Seconds after the ruling, Charlie Black, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said that “Senator McCain is gratified and humbled by the support of Vice President Gore, and he urges the American people to unite behind him for the good of the nation.”
Black also called any possible attempts by Gore to challenge the ruling “extremely divisive,” stating that “any type of debate or divergence would be extremely dangerous in the face of the impending election this November.”
Constitutional scholars have been abuzz since the decision was handed down, heatedly debating whether the court had the authority to overturn a personal opinion. Mercer Archwell, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that he thought that the court was well within its jurisdiction to do so.
“Of course they have every right to do it,” Archwell wrote in an op-ed column that ran in Tuesday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal. “This country was founded on people telling other people what to think and say. I think that the court was simply basing its decision on the best available precedents, from the Salem Witch Trials of 1693 to the Joseph McCarthy hearings of 1954. This is just pure American tradition.”
Not so fast, said constitutional scholar Jason Derek. “This is an absolute outrage, a preposterous abuse of power that is not even endowed upon them by any document, constitution or legal doctrine otherwise. That this country now has a court that disregards the laws it is sworn to protect, it just sucks. I wish there was something we could do about it, but I guess we’ll just take it on the chin again.”
In response to Derek’s allegations, a spokesperson for the court noted that the judges had seen precedent in a 2000 case that established judicial review over all actions taken by Al Gore. The former Vice President was unavailable to comment, as aides say he was in Greenland, eating ice cream sandwiches before they all melted.
In addition to Gore, thousands of elderly Jewish residents of Florida were dismayed at the news that they had each inadvertently issued endorsements of Pat Buchanan.