- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 9, 2000

A mere four days ago the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously humiliated, embarrassed and rebuked the seven Democratic-appointed justices of the Florida Supreme Court for their sloppy legal reasoning in their unanimous Nov. 21 decision. Yesterday, as if no such reprimand had occurred earlier in the week, four of the justices on Florida's high court, for all practical purposes, thumbed their noses at the U.S. Supreme Court and the Florida legislature.

By the narrowest of margins a 4-3 split decision in which Florida's chief justice cast a dissenting vote four liberal Democratic justices on the Florida high court overturned a Monday ruling by Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls. His ruling had rejected on all fronts the lawsuit Vice President Al Gore filed the previous week to contest the certification of president-elect George W. Bush's Florida victory.

Two hours before the renegade Florida high court acted, Mr. Bush's victory appeared to have been solidified when two Democratic-appointed Circuit Court judges dismissed two lawsuits filed by Democratic activists seeking to disenfranchise 25,000 absentee voters in heavily Republican Seminole and Martin counties. A victory by Gore supplicants in either county would have flipped the presidential election in Mr. Gore's favor.

Specifically, the Florida Supreme Court reinstated the net gain of 215 votes in Palm Beach County that Mr. Gore would have received if that county had met the 12-day extended deadline set by the Florida Supreme Court's Nov. 21 decision. In addition, the four Florida justices awarded Mr. Gore a net gain of 168 votes that the Democratic-dominated Miami-Dade canvassing board discovered in its partial manual recount. The Florida court also ordered an immediate manual recount of all undervotes in any Florida county, including more than 9,000 undervotes in Miami-Dade County, where such a manual recount has not yet occurred. In its declaration that any vote must be counted where there is a "clear indication of voter's intent," the Florida Supreme Court guaranteed statewide chaos comparable to that which occurred during manual recounts in Broward and Palm Beach counties, which used radically different standards for deciphering the intent of so-called "dimpled chads."

Despite having their Nov. 21 ruling vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court because it had failed to consider the controlling legal authority of the U.S. Constitution and federal law in the appointment of presidential electors, the extreme liberal faction of the Florida Supreme Court managed to forge the barest of majorities to interject itself once more into the presidential contest at the expense of the state legislature. In doing so, these justices have invited the U.S. Supreme Court to take whatever action is necessary to protect the authority of the U.S. Constitution and federal law. An immediate injunction barring the Florida Supreme Court's decision from being carried out was clearly in order. In the face of such a bold challenge to the Florida legislature's authority to determine how presidential electors are appointed authority, it must be noted, that is expressly delegated to the state legislature by Article II Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution the Florida Senate and House of Representatives must take the necessary action to reassert their indisputable dominance in this regard. Fortunately, they convened Friday for that very purpose.

For the second time in less than three weeks, the Florida Supreme Court has arrogantly inserted itself into political matters where it has no constitutionally delegated authority. Its overreaching actions must not be allowed to stand. It is long past time to corral the renegade justices of the Florida Supreme Court.

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