Nation remains trapped on political roller coaster

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 11, 2000

In what may have been called the “opinion heard round theworld,” the Florida Supreme Court, in a 4-3 split, reversed a lowercourt ruling Friday afternoon and temporarily breathed new lifeinto the dying campaign of Vice President Al Gore.

The campaign went back on life support when the U.S. SupremeCourt intervened Saturday afternoon.

The ruling by the Florida justices could very well have turnedthis election into a constitutional crisis which might have testedthe very fabric of our democracy. Florida Chief Justice Charles T.Wells suggested just such a scenario in has scathing minoritydissension released Friday afternoon.

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Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in again to bringreason to a situation may yet turn nasty.

For 33 days this country has been riding an emotional rollercoaster, as the courts bounced back and forth giving advantage tofirst one side than the other.

Consider the fact that it would have been likely that two setsof Florida electoral delegates would have been presented toCongress in January. One for George Bush, picked by the FloridaLegislature, and one for Al Gore, effectively picked by thedemocrat packed Florida Supreme Court.

Since the U.S. House of Representatives is controlled by theRepublicans, undoubtedly the Bush delegates would have been chosen.But, in the 50-50 Senate, Gore has the deciding vote, there waslittle question as to which delegation would receive Senateconfirmation.

Since both halls of Congress would have been split, federal lawstipulates that the issue goes back to the House of Representativeswhere the choice must be predicated on which delegation had theapproval of the Governor of Florida — George W.’s brother.

So, would Bush have been the final choice? Not necessarily.

The Florida Supreme Court could have ordered the FloridaGovernor to approve the Democrat electors, threatening him withcontempt of court if he failed to comply.

Meanwhile, a frustrated electorate that has been polarized bythe partisan bickering, has become even more polarized by a statesupreme court that has lost its ethical rudder and veered into thedangerous waters of partisan politics.