-by Luke Johnson
October 10, 2011- Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens writes in his new memoir, Five Chiefs, that the George W. Bush campaign's 2000 appeal to the United States Supreme Court over the Florida recount was "frivolous" and never should have been granted.
He recalls bumping into Justice Stephen Breyer at a Christmas party and the two having a brief conversation about the Bush application to halt the recount by issuing a stay. "We agreed that the application was frivolous," he writes. "To secure a stay, a litigant must show that one is necessary to prevent a legally cognizable irreparable injury. Bush's attorneys had failed to make any such showing."
By a five-to-four vote, the court granted the stay. "What I still regard as a frivolous stay application kept the court extremely busy for four days," he writes. He adds that no justice has ever cited the opinions that provided the basis for their ruling.
Indeed, the court — unusually — limited its decision "to the present circumstances," meaning that it did not want it to become a precedent.
HuffPost's Mike Sacks recently interviewed the 91-year-old former justice on his views on the death penalty and the Citizens United ruling just before the memoir was published.