Brian "Kingfish" Trascher

kingfish@politicalusa.com


 

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Florida’s Highest Court Defies U.S. Supreme Court, Contradicts Itself
By Brian “Kingfish” Trascher
kingfish@politicalusa.com

12/8/2000

            In an unprecedented 4-3 decision today, the Florida Supreme Court overturned the decision of Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls to disallow the ballot recount in disputed Florida counties.  The blatantly partisan decision calls for a manual recount to immediately begin and to also allow results from recounts that was turned in after the original court-imposed deadline.  Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court had vacated the original ruling of Florida’s high court because it had changed Florida’s state law, whereby violating the U.S. Constitution, the Florida court decided to overturn the strict finding of fact by the lower circuit court.

            It is absolutely indisputable that the original ruling of Florida’s Supreme Court illegally changed Florida statute by delaying the certification deadline, even the U.S. Supreme Court concurs with that fact.  Some of the recount results showed up after the new court-imposed deadline and are now being included, which clearly shows that they have again changed Florida law by moving the deadline for the second time.  Judge Sauls, a Democrat of the lower Circuit Court, had found that every point of Al Gore’s contest had failed to prove that any wrongdoing or fraud existed in the contested counties.  It is the job of the lower court to be the “finder of fact”, and the Supreme Court can only overturn if they believe the judge had misused his judicial discretion in finding those facts.  So, in essence, the Florida Supreme Court is saying that Judge Sauls misused his discretion on every single count of the Gore contest, a position that has no chance of being substantiated.

            The Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, one of the three justices to dissent from the majority decision today, cited that he felt the ruling would not survive the inevitable scrutiny of the U. S. Supreme Court.  It is clear that the four concurring justices on the court were finding any way possible to keep Al Gore in a race that he has already lost.  It is also widely speculated that the ruling was to intentionally slight the Florida Legislature who had indicated the possible intent to send Bush electors to the Electoral College no matter what any court decisions may be.  The Bush team has said that the ruling came as no surprise to them given the courts liberal, activist history, and they have already made plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The non-stop claiming by the Gore Campaign of the existence of so-called “undervotes” that have not yet been counted is an outright lie.  Every vote has been counted, and recounted, and recounted again.  Just because some people chose not to vote for President is not an open invitation for Gore to claim those votes for himself.  It is also a lie that Gore wants every vote counted.  In fact, it is clear that he only wants the votes recounted that were cast in heavily Democratic areas.  This transparently partisan ruling of the Florida Supreme Court will certainly not survive the U.S. Supreme Court.  The concurring justices know this, and are clearly taking a stand for their party instead of upholding the law.  This time, however, the U.S. Supreme Court will not be so polite in its ruling.  It will, I believe in very strong language, chastise the court for changing and breaking the law twice.  The Gore supporters are cheering for now, but all the ruling from the Florida Supreme Court did was to add four more candidates to be potential appointees in a Gore Administration, which, by the way, will never see the light of day.

The “Kingfish” is a political analyst from Louisiana and is an expert commentator on Louisiana as well as National politics. He is a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Political Science.

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