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Response to unblock (Reply #19)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 04:33 PM

36. I am not arguing with you but I see things a bit differently

It is not just the written letters in the words of the law that matter, it is also the intent. One of the biggest horrors in that Supreme Court ruling was that the Constitution does not empower the Supreme Court to become involved in state elections; it delegates that right to conduct Presidential elections to the states themselves, provided each outlines the rules in their state constitutions prior to the election. This Florida had done.

Two years prior to election 2000, there was a contest of a mayoral election by a candidate who disputed his loss. The "winner" of that election was in office a good amount of time before the lawsuit was resolved. It turned out the candidate actually occupying that seat did not literally win, and the plaintiff in the suit was declared the victor. Resolving this kind of debacle would not happen again, the Florida legislature amended its state constitution to modify the procedures for contesting/protesting an election. The revised rules were the ones Gore went by, and the Republicans, who were using the old rules, ridiculed him saying he was a sore loser.

The last word in that 2000 election properly belonged to the Florida Supreme Court. In that opinion, that Court said "the right to vote is paramount", which to me is indisputable. That Court ordered the resumption of the recount, which the Supreme Court using that equal weight rule and also falling back on the Safe Harbor provision blocked. It had absolutely no legal justification to interfere. The Florida Supreme Court should have had the last word.

But the threats you mention the Florida legislature having made previously to still send a Republican slate to the Electoral College even if Gore prevailed in the recount was also an unconstitutional move. One cannot change the rules of the election (Constitutionally) after the popular vote but before the counting of the electoral college votes for that particular election. In order to be valid, if rules are changed after an election, they cannot go into effect until the next election. This is to prevent the "fixing" of election results, which of course was what the Florida legislature was attempting to do, but had they actually done this, the Electoral College could have not counted that slate from Florida (and there was precedent (yes, rare, but existing) for doing so. This latter information is discussed by David Bois in his book Courting Justice but unfortunately, this argument was not publicly presented during the recount controversy to offset Republican threats.

In hiding behind that equal weight argument and the Safe Harbor provision, the Supreme Court discounted 51 million votes nationwide. I ask you, how can one argue a failure to apply the equal weight argument is less than fair to those who voted the first time in a state election and more fair to those whose votes were not counted as a legal means to justify what happened in one state as a weapon to punish the voters nationwide? It can't be logically justified.

And speaking of logic, that Safe Harbor provision was written by the authors to ensure that the pony express riders left on horseback on time, carrying the slate of electors vote to the Electoral College in time to be included in its official count. In the days of electronic submission, Federal Express, UPS and other alternatives, exactly why would one observe the literal words of the Constitution rather than the intent. The intent of those words was states needed to get their results to the Electoral College in order for them to be counted, an intent totally disregarded by Scalia, et. al.

On so many levels, that Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision should have never happened. On another level, I continue to be appalled at Scalia's distortions on these issues and his chronic appearances on cable totally misrepresenting the facts to the public. And no one contradicts him. The last appearance he made when he referred to the Bush v. Gore decision, he said the Supreme Court decided the case because that was what Gore wanted. That was always Jim Baker's goal from the inception of the controversy, to get the issue to the Supreme Court, which he knew would rule in Bush's favor. Gore was always opposed at that point to the courts deciding the issue because the knew at least half the Country would never recognize the winner of a lawsuit as the legitimate winner of the election. And so right he was about that.

I apologize for this long post, but this is one issue that always sets me off.

Sam

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