The Supreme overruled the Florida Supreme Court's decision allow a state wide recount of votes by the laws that existed in Florida at the time that the election took place.
This is significant for several reasons:
The first point has obvious implications, but that can't be dwelt on too strongly because that's just the way that it is. Still, the fact remains that a strong majority of the Justices that ruled on this case were conservative judges that were nominated by Republicans and had an interest in seeing a conservative president in office.
The second matter is more pressing however.
Antonin Scalia has two sons, one was a partner of Ted Olsen, who was representing George Bush in the case, and the other was a partner in the law firm representing George Bush in the Florida case that the Supreme Court was then ruling on. So, both her sons were involved with the only two law firms representing Bush in these cases.
Clarence Thomas was also related to the case because his wife was working for the organization that was handling the job applications for Bush's administration, so his wife's job was directly tied to George Bush. This clearly gave Thomas incentive to rule in favor of Bush, not to mention the fact that he was nominated by Bush Sr. and had a difficult confirmation hearing during which Bush supported him. Can the incentive for payback be any more blatant?
Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Sandra O'Connor both expressed a desire to retire and be replaced by a conservative judge within the 2000 to 2004 timeframe prior to the time when they presided over the case of Bush vs. Gore.
At a party on the night of the election Justice O'Connor expressed dismay when she heard the news that Florida was initially called for Al Gore. Her comments that night were "This is terrible!"
There is in fact a petition to hold Justices Scalia, O'Connor, and Thomas accountable for their actions.
The petition can be seen here:
Now, what is significant is that in light of the conflicts of interest, which were arguably significant enough to have required that the Justices recuse themselves by law as is shown by the petition above, these same Justices, in addition to others, ruled in contradiction with their historical records. Their historical records show that they have a history of ruling is support of states rights. In this case they over ruled state authority and overturned the decision of the Florida Supreme Court, contrary to their positions on states rights.
In addition they ruled on "equal protection" in a manner contrary to their histories as well.
Shortly after George Bush took office he appointed Eugene Scalia as top lawyer for the Labor Department and Janet Rehnquist as inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department.
This of course bring into question whether deals were made prior to the rulings, or simply whether knowledge of impending future careers of their children with the Bush administration played a role in influencing the decision of the Justices.
For some analysis of the decisions see: