With neither candidate able to claim a clear victory at the polls, it was up to Florida’s courts and, ultimately, the U. S. Supreme Court to determine the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. As the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court at the time, Charley Wells, who joined GrayRobinson as a partner in March 2009, played a prime role as the controversial case unfolded. In Inside Bush v. Gore, to be published Tuesday by University Press of Florida, Wells revisits the twists and turns of the 36-day legal standoff between George W. Bush and Al Gore and their respective phalanxes of attorneys. Appointed to the state’s top court in 1994 by then-Governor Lawton Chiles, Wells served as chief justice from 2000 to 2002 and, despite being one of six Democrats on the seven-member court, was among its more reliable conservatives—a reputation he cemented by voting in the minority in the 4-to-3 decision directing that the Florida recount continue. Wells spoke to The Am Law Daily recently about his book and his memories of the tense stretch during which the eyes of the world were on him and his colleagues.
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