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Bush, by a technicality.
December 12, 2000 7:45 PM   Subscribe

Bush, by a technicality. They've run out the clock. Oh dear. This could be messy.
posted by holgate (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
The British press is doing a much better job explaining this election than any American media outlet I’ve been reading. Case in point.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 7:48 PM on December 12, 2000


A "technicality". I love it. If it's the law, it's the law. I guess you can label it whatever you want.

(and no, once again, I am not a Republican)
posted by pnevares at 7:56 PM on December 12, 2000


Does this count as "Bush won by just one vote?" After all of the counting, recounting, counting what counts, deciding to stop the count, not counting what counts, wanting to count again and again and again. Use numbers all you want, but some were waiting for a tie and then the coin flip. What if the recount continued and all undervotes and overvotes, voter errors, absentee ballots were counted and counted and counted by a standard and Bush did win by just 10 votes then what? An appeal to November, 2004......
posted by brent at 7:57 PM on December 12, 2000


pnevares: well, if you count a judgement which basically says "this requires time to run backwards" as something other than a technicality, I hope you're not on the bench when I'm in the dock.
posted by holgate at 8:03 PM on December 12, 2000


And the upshot may be that the Supreme Court has declared the election system-- see the LA Times piece well and truly broken. But yeah: CoinFlip 2004. It'll be cheaper, quicker and fairer.
posted by holgate at 8:12 PM on December 12, 2000


A travesty. A coup. A fradulent presidency. We won't forget.
posted by owillis at 8:12 PM on December 12, 2000


If everything was counted I could understand why it would be game over, but uncounted... I'd hate to be the person whose vote WASN'T counted.
posted by Neale at 8:23 PM on December 12, 2000


pathetic
posted by lagado at 8:33 PM on December 12, 2000


"Well and truly broken"...that's the point I've been making for a month. That's the important thing to come out of all this. All this partisan manuevering is crap.
posted by rushmc at 8:47 PM on December 12, 2000


I've been reading the Supreme Court opinion, and it doesn't seem as ambiguous as the U.S. television news made it out to be. Everyone seemed a little gunshy to call it after all the mistakes they had on election night.

Page 12:
"That statute, in turn, requires that any controversy or contest that is designed to lead to a conclusive selection of electors be completed by December 12. That date is upon us, and there is no recount procedure in place under the State Supreme Court’ s order that comports with minimal constitutional standards. Because it is evident that any recount seeking to meet the December 12 date will be unconstitutional for the reasons we have discussed, we reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida
ordering a recount to proceed."


No recount, no chance for Gore.
posted by timothompson at 8:55 PM on December 12, 2000


I can see that this election will become a case study in every political science text book around the world.


posted by cheaily at 9:20 PM on December 12, 2000


I'd prefer a Gore presidency at this point, cause it's going to be a crummy political 4 years, and I'd rather he get the blame, but I am buoyed by the thought that a Bush presidency might make the bogus Microsoft anti-trust lawsuit go away. Don't worry everybody, abortion will still be legal 4 years from now.
posted by thirteen at 9:38 PM on December 12, 2000


If you're in Mississippi now, could you check to see if there's the sound of spinning near here.
posted by holgate at 9:54 PM on December 12, 2000




There's only one thing for Gore to do: Ask for a recount of the Supreme Court decision. There's no way in hell all those justices meant to vote in favor of Bush.





posted by Witold at 10:07 PM on December 12, 2000 [1 favorite]


Let me get this straight -- the SCOTUS stopped the recount on Saturday, and then ruled that the recount couldn't go through because it couldn't get done in time? Did I really just read that right?
posted by norm at 10:55 PM on December 12, 2000



So let me get this straight:

Dec. 8: Florida Supremes order the uncounted ballots to be counted.

Dec. 9: U.S. Supremes call timeout so that it can determine whether the counting is legal.

Dec. 12, 10 p.m.: The U.S. Supremes say, "Well, it may well be legal, but it would be impossible to do so properly in the next, oh, two hours, so nyah, nyah."

Or, as Justice Breyer put it: "The recount was moving ahead in an 'orderly fashion' (when) this court improvidently entered a stay. As a result, we will never know whether the recount could have been completed."

For all the legal fuss, has anyone, anywhere disputed the fact that more Floridians intended to vote for Gore than for Bush?

Oh, forget it. I'm too sick of this to drag on the moaning. Speaking of which, sorry, Owillis: "Forgetting" is exactly what we're going to do. We are sort of dumb that way. Why else do you think we've ended up with the candidates, leaders and justices that we have?

Sigh.
posted by luke at 10:59 PM on December 12, 2000


A travesty. A coup. A fradulent presidency. We won't forget.

I certainly won't. One of the chestnuts that pundits have been throwing out is that "this election proves that every vote counts." It doesn't do that at all -- thousands of votes will never be counted in Florida and thousands more were invalidated through a mixture of incompetence and neglect by our election officials. Why bother voting if officials can't be bothered to count them?

I never thought this thing would end through judicial fiat rather than an attempt to conduct a thorough and fair recount of the votes in Florida. Bush, who seems likely to have won this weekend's makeshift recount, diminished his presidency immeasurably by calling on the Supreme Court to stop it.

"Although we may never know with complete certainty the winner of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." -- Justice John Paul Stevens
posted by rcade at 11:05 PM on December 12, 2000


Let me get this straight -- the SCOTUS stopped the recount on Saturday, and then ruled that the recount couldn't go through because it couldn't get done in time? Did I really just read that right?

No Norm - You missed an important part. 7 of the 9 said the count as it was being conducted on Saturday was arbitrary and violated equal protection. Any counting up to that point would have been thrown out anyway, and counting would have had to start over again following their ruling. Worse, we would have had a bogus number that partisans would have latched on to as further evidence that Bush's presidency is not legitimate.

Now 2 of those 7 said the Florida courts could fashion a remedy and complete the counting by the 18th. However a majority 5 (arguably for "ideological" reasons) felt that taking the Florida court at their word, the 12th is the deadline not the 18th. There's no way to count it by the 12th. In fact some on the court felt no way to count it fairly by the 18th.
posted by willnot at 11:15 PM on December 12, 2000


Also, willnot, the SCOTUS essentially threw back the premise that the SCOFLA determine a state-wide standard for a recount, subject to judicial challenge and with greater clarity than the Florida statute. Which, given that the state uses at least three vastly different voting methods, is asking them to square the circle.

But, as I said, it also raises the question of whether any of the state elections could satisfy the "equal protection" argument, under close scrutiny. In short, the Justices decided to put this sick election out of its misery.
posted by holgate at 11:53 PM on December 12, 2000


Luke you are correct. By stopping the recount and then issuing the opinion that they did, they have made themselves look like complete fools.

Actually, I think this is good for the Democrats as long as they don't come out and blast the Supreme Court. The whole world will look at Bush and laugh, he has no real legitimacy now. He can't really make any decisions and has no real mandate. With the economy slowing, Bush will get the blame and I predict the Democrats will win easily in 2002.

Holgate, I agree with u, the 'equal protection' argument would make almost any election invalid. A case could be made that if different ballots were used and different kinds of machines counted the votes then this would not satify the "equal protection" requirement. This sets a dangerous precedent.
posted by jay at 1:02 AM on December 13, 2000


Props to holgate for the Bill Hicks reference. Bill would be raining down hellfire on Dubya's ignorant ass right now.

Congratulations, America. You got what you deserved. I'm afraid this is going to be the most painful civics lesson any of us have ever learned.

So it goes.
posted by Optamystic at 1:24 AM on December 13, 2000


Rehnquist, a Nixon appointee, said he wanted to retire under a Republican president. Looks like he forced the situtation.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:06 AM on December 13, 2000


You know, if the decision of the most learned jurists of our nation had gone the other way, why don't I doubt for a minute that the same lot of you who are villifying the court right now would be here singing its praises. It's either a body that is capable of properly and intelligently interpreting the law within the context of the situation or it isn't. Whine whine, bitch bitch, the Bush presidency will only be illegitimate for people who think that emotional appeal to what makes sense to them should take precedence over the rule of law.
posted by Dreama at 5:13 AM on December 13, 2000


The truth is, this entire country was always under the control of evil republicans who's only purpouse in life is to a-take away women's rights b-destroy the enviroment c-kill the economy d-restore slavery, starting, ofcourse by mindwashing non-partisan cops to put up blockades all over florida, stoping blacks from voting. I can see where they could have run back and secretly re-writed the constitution, when was the last time anyone read that piece of crap? Right?
posted by tiaka at 5:52 AM on December 13, 2000


For all the legal fuss, has anyone, anywhere disputed the fact that more Floridians intended to vote for Gore than for Bush?

Actually, I've seen a number of claims that Shrub would have won a full statewide recount. (Sorry, no references immediately at hand.) Generally, the argument goes that there were more total undervotes in Bush counties than in Gore counties. Which may well explain why AG2K made only a few token remarks in favor of a full recount, as opposed to heavy campaigning for recounts in a couple of carefully-chosen areas.
posted by harmful at 6:30 AM on December 13, 2000


Holgate, I agree with u, the 'equal protection' argument would make almost any election invalid. A case could be made that if different ballots were used and different kinds of machines counted the votes then this would not satify the "equal protection" requirement. This sets a dangerous precedent.

This may well be true, and I've already seen many congressional represenatives begin to make noises about standardizing all of this for the future (don't know who will be paying for it, but...)

Still, different ballots and machines aside. Let's look in just one county, and assume one of the infamouse dimpled ballots. If it's towards the top of the pile and counted early, it's not a vote. If it's deeper in the pile and counted a few days later it is a vote.

Do you want to make the argument that can be seen as fair? The other side of the coin is the 1 1/2 million voters who may have tried to cast a vote for president but were thwarted by the machines. That sucks too, but at least the machine bias is objective and not subjective.
posted by willnot at 7:44 AM on December 13, 2000


For all the legal fuss, has anyone, anywhere disputed the fact that more Floridians intended to vote for Gore than for Bush?

If they intended to vote for Gore then perhaps they should have actually done so. Outside of Palm Beach County, where the confusing butterfly ballot was used, I don't see voter confusion as being an issue (and in any case, voter confusion is not something that can be corrected after the election). Yes, some votes were not counted because of machine errors, but the machines did not discriminate between Bush and Gore and likely lost roughly the same percentage of votes for both candidates. If every vote were counted, in other words, the vote would probably be just as close and Bush could conceivably still come out the winner.

Folks, we have had incompetent Presidents before and the country did not self-destruct. We'll survive the next four years, count on it. We have a President without a popular mandate and we have a split legislature. Sounds like he won't be able to do too much damage. Same would be true regardless of Gore.
posted by kindall at 8:19 AM on December 13, 2000


You know, if the decision of the most learned jurists of our nation had gone the other way, why don't I doubt for a minute that the same lot of you who are villifying the court right now would be here singing its praises. It's either a body that is capable of properly and intelligently interpreting the law within the context of the situation or it isn't.

I think we all know the answer to that question after Tuesday's ruling.

If the Supreme Court had done something to ensure that votes were counted by a fair standard, I certainly would have praised the justices no matter who won. Acknowledging that the system in Florida is fundamentally flawed, but affirming one candidate as the winner by leaving thousands of votes uncounted, is an albatross that will hang around the neck of the court for the next 25 years.

That sucks too, but at least the machine bias is objective and not subjective.

Machine bias is only objective when the entire state uses the same machines. The most flawed machines were located disproportionately in African-American precincts in Florida. The rate of rejected votes in that community is staggering.
posted by rcade at 8:21 AM on December 13, 2000


To lighten the thread here just a touch, hasn't anyone else but me gotten a chuckle out of "SCOFLA"?
posted by baylink at 10:16 AM on December 13, 2000


I've also liked hearing about SCOTUS, not to mention POTUS and I guess VeePOTUS?


posted by owillis at 10:43 AM on December 13, 2000


Huhuhuhuh. He said "SCOTUS." Huhuhuhuhuh.

Yeah, isn't that a nutsack? Heh. Heh heh. Heheheh.
posted by kindall at 11:22 AM on December 13, 2000


Machine bias is only objective when the entire state uses the same machines. The most flawed machines were located disproportionately in African-American precincts in Florida. The rate of rejected votes in that community is staggering.


Punch card machines tend to fail towards undercounts. OC machines tend to fail towards over-counts (presumably reading any stray mark as a potential second vote). There were twice as many over-counts and under-counts, and they were largely in conservative districts.

Gore's lead attorney argued against the need to count over-counts in court and in the press using the exact same arguments that the conservatives used to dismiss the under-counts.

Don't kid yourself - nobody wanted to count all the votes, and nobody covered themselves in glory.
posted by willnot at 12:55 PM on December 13, 2000


Don't kid yourself - nobody wanted to count all the votes, and nobody covered themselves in glory.

Agreed. Gore's best chance to win the recount, politically and legally, would have been to ask for a statewide recount on Nov. 8.
posted by rcade at 1:59 PM on December 13, 2000


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