Wall Street Journal: Why we can expect the Florida Supreme Court to side with Gore...

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The Will of the Lawyers

(The Wall Street Journal, 11/20/00)

Al Gore has finally found his controlling legal authority: Democratic judges.

Monday, November 20, 2000 12:01 a.m. EST

Al Gore has finally found his controlling legal authority. He's counting on the Democratic judges of Florida to win him an election he couldn't win on his own.

And they just might be up to the job. One ominous sign was the Florida Supreme Court's amazing decision on Friday, at 4:30 p.m., to block Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris from certifying a George W. Bush victory by 930 votes with all overseas ballots counted.

The seven Solomons issued their injunction without even being asked; the Gore team hadn't filed its brief yet. This by itself is unheard of, barring fraud, which no one alleges here. The court said it wanted "to maintain the status quo," yet it allowed hand recounts in Democratic precincts to continue. So the only status quo being maintained is the part helping Mr. Gore.

The court's injunction also achieved the rare trifecta of overruling all three branches of Florida government at once. It overrode an elected executive officer, Ms. Harris, who was implementing deadlines enacted by an elected legislature. And it overrode Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis, who had twice upheld Ms. Harris's use of her discretion.

"A reading of the entire Election Code suggests a legislative intent to balance the desire for accuracy with the desire for finality," Judge Lewis, a Democrat, wrote. "The plaintiffs assert that she has acted arbitrarily in deciding to ignore amended returns from counties conducting manual recounts. I disagree."

As the only judge who had examined the merits, Mr. Lewis was overruled by judges who hadn't heard a single argument. The court's motive Friday was transparently political--to block what it knew was a significant event, namely Mr. Bush's certification as the winner.

We'd like to think these unelected judges will show less partisanship when they address the merits, but the court's makeup and history aren't reassuring. Six of the seven are Democrats and all were appointed by Democratic governors. Somehow this never gets mentioned by the same media that describe Ms. Harris as a "staunch Republican" (to quote Paul Simao of Reuters).

At least four of the judges were also selected by the lawyer who is Mr. Gore's Florida counsel in this very case. He's Dexter Douglass, who was the chief judge picker for former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles. "They'll know I'm at the table," Mr. Douglass boasted to the New York Times the other day about his Gore role before the Supreme Court today.

As our John Fund reported recently, the Florida Supreme Court seems to have a problem with democracy. The judges have shredded Florida's right to ballot initiatives by routinely declaring them "misleading." The court tossed out four separate initiatives against racial preferences. And two months ago it rebuked the state legislature for having dared to put a "preservation of the death penalty" measure on the ballot in 1996.

Two other judges have made in-kind contributions to the Gore campaign. In Democratic Broward County, manual recounters were at first counting ballots only if at least two of the four corners of the chad were detached. But this only produced 48 new Gore votes in the first 153 precincts (of 609 total). So late Friday, Circuit Court Judge John Miller suggested that the county canvassing board count "dimpled chads," that is, ballots that are merely indented.

Circuit Court Judge Jorge Labarga did something similar in Palm Beach County. As the Orlando Sentinal put it, "This has resulted in a large number of ballots being set aside for closer scrutiny by the country's three-member canvassing board. The ruling concerns Republicans, because two of those board members are Democrats and the third is a nonpartisan judge." This should ramp up the Gore tallies.

It all gets curiouser and curiouser.

The Miami Herald reports that "at least 39 felons--mostly Democrats--illegally cast absentee ballots" in Broward and Miami-Dade. Those same counties also reversed themselves and decided to hold manual counts, under severe Gore pressure.

Democratic lawyer Bruce Rogow says that Gore lawyer Warren Christopher called him to lobby Mr. Rogow's client, elections supervisor Theresa LePore, to assure a manual recount in Palm Beach County. Mr. Rogow says this is inappropriate, but Palm Beach is now doing what Mr. Christopher asked.

And, mysteriously, some 1,420 overseas ballots were rejected, perhaps as many as 1,100 of them from U.S. military personnel. That is, they dismissed the military ballots because they weren't cast through exacting procedures, but they've sent other ballots back to be counted a third, fourth and fifth time; dimpled chad now qualifies. Still, Mr. Bush won 63% of the overseas absentees that were counted. If Democratic vote canvassers can disqualify military ballots, why can't Katherine Harris do her job and enforce legal vote-counting deadlines?

All of this started, remember, not because of any fraud but because some voters in Palm Beach County believe they made mistakes on a ballot designed by a Democrat. From that blunder the Gore campaign has built what has become a classic railroad job. Look for the Supreme Court to issue its findings once the Gore counters have found enough dimpled chad to go ahead, and with the absentees in, they now know their target number.

Count and then recount, sue and then count again, change the rules and count again, and when that fails ask the Dexter Douglass Florida Supreme Court to let Al Gore count for as long as it takes to move ahead of George W. Bush. Then all hail "the will of the people."

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 20, 2000


from Letterman, 11/17/00

Top Ten Least Popular Dr. Seuss Books (Don't worry, folks -- it's "relevant."):)

10.Horton Demands A Recount

9.No, That's Not A Wocket In My Pocket

8.One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Still Too Close To Call Fish

7.Thidwick, The Big-Headed Moose Who Was Skinned And Gutted By Poachers

6.Hop On Pop's Coattails, Featuring George W. Bush

5.Green Eggs And Ham And The Seven-Figure Food Poisoning Lawsuit That Followed

4.Arafat In A Tablecloth Hat

3.The Lorax Takes Prozac

2.Oh, The Places Hillary Clinton Has Pretended To Be From

1.How Joseph Lieberman Stole Christmas

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 20, 2000.

The reference above to the Dexter Douglas Supreme Court is referring to a very prominent Tallahassee attorney who represented Former Governor Lawton Chiles for many years. He was and still is a high official in the Democrat Party in Florida. He has substantially damages his reputation and credibility trying to help the Democrats steal the election by these unethical tatics and where party officials are saying one thing and doing another. Victory at any price? I though attorneys have an obligation to tell the truth. The truth is that Mr. VICE President has lost and the party is trying every trick to reverse the outcome. He will not recognize the truth. What if he was President during a war. He would be denying defeat until the day of the invasion just like the Japanese during the summer of 1945. They thought they were winning until their big cities were burned to the ground because of the government lying and propaganda. The recounts of the recounts of the recounts with the rules changing each day is no way to run an honest election. The Democrats should be ashamed but the party leaders have no shame. We need new leaders of the Democrat Party before we become the laughingstock of the country. We can least try to limit the ridicule to the Democrat Party instead of to the whole state of Florida. We do not need this kind of publicity.

-- Sad Florida resident (Sad@wakeup.abc), November 20, 2000.

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