Saturday, September 10, 2005

Remember Bush v Gore & that 2000 Election in Florida – What Happened?

I was chatting with a liberal friend about the 2000 Presidential election and said that "the United States Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 that what the Florida Supreme Court did was unconstitutional." The response was that I must be ill informed or lying.

A good summary of what actually happened in 2000 was written by James Taranto of Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal Best of the Web Today:
In Florida "Bush had a lead of just under 2,000 votes, enough to force an automatic recount.

That recount cut Bush's lead to less than 1,000 votes, and the Gore camp demanded re-recounts by hand, especially in Democrat-leaning Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties, which trimmed the margin further. A legal battle ensued between the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. On Nov. 21 the Florida court unanimously overturned a lower-court ruling and ordered the resumption of those hand recounts. On Dec. 4 a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court vacated that ruling and ordered the Tallahassee justices to reconsider its ruling.

Then divisions appeared in both courts. On Dec. 9, by a vote of 4-3, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a full statewide re-re-recount. That was a Saturday, prompting an unusual weekend Best of the Web Today. Florida Chief Justice Charles Wells dissented: "I . . . believe that the majority's decision cannot withstand the scrutiny which will certainly immediately follow under the United States Constitution."

He was right. On Dec. 12, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Florida court in Bush v. Gore. Seven of the nine justices agreed that the Florida court's ruling was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, but two of them wanted to give the Floridians more time to resolve the problem. A five-justice majority, however, held that state law set a Dec. 12 deadline and thus put a stop to the re-re-recounting."

I would make only one addition: During the US Supreme Court Bush v. Gore oral arguments, Gore attorney David Boies admitted that “re-re-recount” had essentially no standard whatsoever for evaluating chads to determine if a ballot had a valid vote.


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September 10, 2005  

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