“The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm [George W. Bush] and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election.”
Scalia was a very smart man, and he had to know that this would be one of the main decisions for which he was remembered. His willingness to risk his reputation by writing that ridiculous rationale for a nakedly partisan outcome served as an example to conservatives everywhere: Win by any means necessary.
He did not like being reminded of it. When college audiences would ask him about the decision he would usually bellow, “Get over it,” which was the standard line the media employed in the wake of the decision in 2000. But in recent years he led the way with another modern Republican tactic, simply denying reality. In 2008 he appeared on “60 Minutes”:
“People say that that decision was not based on judicial philosophy but on politics,” Stahl asks.
“I say nonsense,” Scalia says.
Was it political?
“Gee, I really don’t wanna get into – I mean this is – get over it. It’s so old by now. The principal issue in the case, whether the scheme that the Florida Supreme Court had put together violated the federal Constitution, that wasn’t even close. The vote was seven to two.”
At the end of the speech, Scalia took questions from the audience. One person asked about the Bush-Gore case, where the Supreme Court had to determine the winner of the election.
“Get over it,” Scalia said of the controversy surrounding it, to laughter from the audience.“
Scalia reminded the audience it was Gore who took the election to court, and the election was going to be decided in a court anyway—either the Florida Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court.
It was a long time ago, people forget…It was a 7-2 decision. It wasn’t even close,” he said.
The problem is that he was not telling the truth. As Ian Millhiser at Think Progress explained:
Bush v. Gore was not a 7-2 decision — and indeed, Scalia could tell this is true by counting all four of the dissenting opinions in that case. Although it is true that the four dissenters divided on how the Florida recount should proceed — two believed there should be a statewide recount of all Florida voters while two others believed a narrower recount would be acceptable — not one of the Court’s four moderates agreed with Scalia that the winner of the 2000 presidential election should effectively be chosen by five most conservative members of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Justice Scalia had a long illustrious judicial career. He was a giant among the modern conservative legal theorists on the right.  But he was also one of the fathers of the modern conservative movement’s “you can believe me or you can believe your lying eyes” school of politics. If the 2016 Republican presidential primary is any example, his political legacy is secure.