Share

POLITICS: PennAve

Paul Begala in 2001 White House meeting: Scalia 'rigged' election for Bush

By |
Supreme Court,Bill Clinton,PennAve,George W. Bush,Rebecca Berg,Elections,Antonin Scalia

In the final days of President Bill Clinton's second term, as aides worked furiously to write a farewell address, speechwriter Jeff Shesol met with the president's close aide Paul Begala to plan the speech.

During a discussion over the importance of hitting on globalization in the speech, however, Begala veered off, revealing his anger with the then-recent outcome of the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 presidential election.

By a 5-4 decision, the court's ruling one month earlier allowed Florida's certification of George W. Bush as the state's winner over Al Gore to stand, handing Bush the presidency. Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia had been among those voting in Bush's favor.

Begala was convinced the outcome had been fixed.

"Scalia rigged the election for Bush because they had to have control of the judiciary to continue this neutering of the federal government," Begala said, according to handwritten notes taken by Shesol. "They didn't steal the election to stop globalization."

The notes were part of a trove of Clinton White House files made public for the first time Friday by the Clinton Presidential Library.

In public, Begala has not kept quiet over his disgust with the court's decision. in 2012, he wrote the justices had "disgraced themselves" during Bush v. Gore, but that falls far short of alleging an election-fixing scheme.

Scalia, for his part, has not publicly expressed misgivings with the decision he made in 2000. In an interview last year, Scalia said he often tells people upset with the outcome to “get over it.”

View article comments Leave a comment