WASHINGTON—In an unexpected judicial turnaround, the Supreme Court this week reversed its 2000 ruling in the landmark case of Bush v. Gore, stripping George W. Bush of his earlier political victory, and declaring Albert Arnold Gore the 43rd president of the United States of America.
The court, which called its original decision to halt manual recounts in Florida "a ruling made in haste," voted unanimously on Wednesday in favor of the 2000 Democratic nominee.
Gore will serve as commander in chief from Dec. 10 to Jan. 20.
"Allowing this flaw in judgment to stand would set an unworkable precedent for future elections and cause irreparable harm to the impartiality of this court," said Chief Justice John G. Roberts in his majority opinion. "Furthermore, let me be the first to personally congratulate President Gore on his remarkable come-from-behind victory. May he guide us wisely into this new millennium."
Added Roberts, "The system works."
Moments after the court's noontime announcement, Gore was flown to Washington, D.C. aboard Air Force One, sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, and immediately escorted to a brief victory rally at the National Mall. By 4:30 p.m., his 15 cabinet appointees had been vetted, contacted, and brought to Washington, where they were all simultaneously approved by a majority vote in the Senate.
Gore then delivered the first of seven consecutive State of the Union addresses.
Shortly after being notified of the court's historic decision, a gracious George W. Bush appeared at a press conference with four hastily packed suitcases to congratulate his 2000 opponent on the decisive victory.
"Al Gore has fought a strong and patient campaign, and he has prevailed," said the former Republican candidate and Texas governor. "I wish him nothing but the best, and hope that his leadership will help see this nation through a catastrophic recession, an unending war in Iraq, and the single largest housing crisis in history. Congratulations, Mr. President."
In his first and last 42 days as president, Gore will reportedly visit U.S. troops overseas, meet with dignitaries from France, Great Britain, China, Azerbaijan, Japan, and Eastern Europe, formalize a plan to bail out the struggling airline and automotive industries, sign the Kyoto Protocol, take a photo of himself and wife Tipper in front of the White House Christmas tree, and ensure a smooth transition between his own administration to that of incoming president-elect Barack Obama.
"Great humility, honor, I'm President," Gore said to a crowd of tourists hastily shuffled into a White House corridor to hear the president deliver his acceptance speech. "Thanks, bye."
According to political analysts, the road ahead for President Gore is not an easy one. During his first conference call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, NATO, OPEC, and the United Nations, Gore admitted that making good on his campaign promises in the next six to eight weeks might be difficult. The president noted his pledge to provide affordable health care to every single child in the U.S. by 2004 as "specifically in need of possible amending."
Gore also withdrew his intentions to pay off the national debt by 2012.
Although the president has already instituted a number of impressive environmental initiatives, he has drawn criticism from Republicans who claim that he is completely unprepared to deal with the current national climate.
"Throughout the entirety of his 2000 campaign, never once did Gore mention the tragedy of 9/11, or our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) said. "Does he not care about our national security? Does Al Gore plan to ignore the needs of our brave men and women on the ground? What kind of world does Al Gore think we still live in?"
President Gore will not be the only new arrival in the White House to face criticism, however. Joseph Lieberman—the former independent senator from Connecticut who in just two months has gone from the short list of possible Republican running mates to nearly being ousted from the Democratic Caucus to becoming the first Jewish Vice President—will also have much to answer for.
"Uhh," Lieberman said in his first official address Wednesday. "Umm yeah."