- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Readers await pivotal Supreme Court ruling

Retiring Sen. Bob Kerrey, in his public service finale, has been reduced to a pathetic cheerleader for the disgruntled Democrats and Gore disciples. Following Saturday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which stopped the re-re-recount of Florida ballots, the Democrat senator from Nebraska was in the Sunshine State protesting, "It would be one thing if this were the Warren court. But this is the Rehnquist court. The court that has established in case after case the principle of state sovereignty."

In other words, as Mr. Kerrey sees it, judicial activism is excusable, indeed laudable, when liberals benefit. Perhaps that is why, prior to the Supreme Court ruling the Democrats' motto was "let the courts decide." But since the high court sided with conservatives twice, the Dems now declare: Damn the black robes, long live states' rights.

Never mind that the high court was again correcting the Florida Supreme Court, whose lineup of seven Democrats includes financial contributors to the Gore campaign. Never mind that Florida Secretary of State Kathleen Harris' certification preceded this ruling, and the Florida legislature will likely weigh in before this drama has concluded.

By attacking the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Kerrey and other Gore spokesmen have shown they will sink to any level, and adhere to any rationale, in order to win the presidency. After all, the last time the Democrats rallied around states' rights was in their opposition to the abolition of slavery.

In the end, the issue is not about the recounts. The real question centers on the partisans who are doing the counting. The Democrats' win-by-any-means-necessary tactics have irretrievably harmed their party to the point that the highest court in the country cannot trust them to handle ballots while a nation awaits a decision.

JAMIE KARL

Arlington

Edward Belfar, in his Dec. 11 letter to the editor ("Election inspires strong opinions"), claims that the counties that voted for Vice President Al Gore have major universities, museums, symphony orchestras and libraries, and those that voted for Texas Gov. George W. Bush have Wal-Marts and Blockbusters.

In the last 10 years, I have lived in four different counties that voted predominantly for Mr. Bush, and they all had every one of those institutions that Mr. Belfar believes are necessary to make one a good American.

Even those Americans who believe that Blockbuster is a cultural mecca are still Americans and deserve to have their voices heard.

DAVID MITCHELL

Friendswood, Texas

I am writing in response to the Dec. 11 letter from Edward Belfar, in which he says, "The counties that voted for Vice President Al Gore are counties with major universities, museums, symphony orchestras, and libraries." I live in Virginia, one of the states that went to Mr. Bush. Blockbusters aren't our major attractions. Yorktown, Jamestown, and the Manassas battlefield are.

CLAIRE FITZSIMMONDS

Manassas, Va.

Though it pains me to entertain the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority will keep Vice President Al Gore from becoming president, at least their naked power play will prove to my conservative acquaintances what I have said often: that our freedom is endangered by conservatives, not liberals. We liberals knew we were fighting arbitrary power in the '60s, and we are still fighting it today. I thank the justices for once again proving the truth of liberal ideas.

Conservatives don't trust the average American or else they would trust the ballot. But they believe that the people are mere peons, subject to evil, who must be ruled by their betters. The U.S. Supreme Court justices have proved that conservatives are not fit for democracy.

GEORGE THOMAS

Spokane, Wash.

What has happened to the United States of America? For the U.S. Supreme Court to jeopardize an honest accounting of precious votes in the election of our country's leader is shocking, unjudicious and almost too incredible to believe. Further, to prevent the Florida Supreme Court, the state's highest judicial authority, from properly exercising its duty to uphold its own laws is an affront to our justice system.

As Justice John Paul Stevens said, "To stop the counting of legal votes, the majority today departs from" the rules of judicial restraint.

Who suffers more irreparable harm from this action than the citizens of the United States? The interference of the U.S. Supreme Court has aided in the hijacking of the election. Honest American citizens are outraged.

T.M. VITUSCKA

Riverside, N.J.

The greatest lesson to come out of the 2000 presidential election is the oft-repeated maxim that "Every vote counts." Far from being a "constitutional crisis," as some have called it, the 2000 election has eloquently demonstrated the power of each person's vote. It will, no doubt, decrease American apathy toward participating in the democratic process.

We are living witnesses to an event that will be taught in American history and civics classes for as long as our nation endures. The closeness of the 2000 election is in fact a great gift that we Americans will pass on to our future generations. No matter who ends up with the greatest number of votes when the counting is finally complete, we should all be able to rejoice that never before has it been made so clear that ours is a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people.

We must call on all of the legislative bodies to honor and affirm the will of the people in the 2000 election as expressed by the full and fair final vote count. If the result of the final vote count is successfully overturned by any legislative body, not only will the wrong man occupy the White House, but the greatest civics lesson in the history of our nation will become the worst civics lesson, and apathy about a hopelessly corrupt political system will sadly become the new order of the day.

PRESTON MOSER

Medford, Ore.

The ruling by the federal Supreme Court to stop the vote counting in Florida is blatant Republican partisanship. It has done irreparable damage to the stature of the U.S. Supreme Court.

I voted for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. If Texas Gov. George W. Bush now grabs the presidency, I will consider him an impostor to our highest office aided by the partisan prostitution of the U.S. Supreme Court.

ANDY SCHOENBERG

Salt Lake City

The Dec. 8 decision by the Florida Supreme Court to allow recounts bespeaks a naked arrogance that the law means what the anointed wish it to mean. In redefining "shall" as "may" and "seven days" as "eh, whenever," the Florida justices are creating an arbitrary standard for what the law is. Further, by not relying on previous court decisions such as the Illinois court's finding that dimples and pregnant chads are too ambiguous, they again opened the floor to Madame Zelda's Tea Leaf Reading service.

The Florida Supreme Court sent a message that laws are so flexible as to be meaningless. Why bother with the legislature at all? Since courts are bound to reinterpret laws to fit their needs, why not just have judges make the laws themselves?

Words have meaning, as do laws. It is obscene that those in power can manipulate the system to make laws and words mean whatever they want. We may not like a law as it stands, but there is a process to fix it. When laws can be read to suit the needs of government, when the will of the people must be passed through a governmental filter to decide what people meant, it sets a dangerous precedent for a loss of liberty. These acts require that the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirm the Constitution and the rule of law not lawyers.

DAVID HUNT

Sandusky, Ohio

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