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View Full Version : People Make Way For...the Interim President! (Good Article About What May Happen)


RINGLEADER
10-18-2004, 11:27 AM
Looks like George Will thinks that the Supreme Court ruling from 2000 has given lawyers for both sides all the ammo they need to contest EVERYTHING (registrations, vote counting methods, provisional votes, etc., etc.) and he believes that the amount of time it will take to litigate all these things could end up with no candidate receiving 270 EVs by the deadlines imposed by the Constitution, requiring the insertion of an interim president for the period of months it requires to hammer out who won.

Ick.

Oct. 25 issue - On Dec. 12, 2000, the Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore, ending the Florida fiasco and guaranteeing George W. Bush's election. Shortly thereafter the conservative National Review, which was pleased by the ruling's consequence but queasy about the reasoning that produced it, issued a warning, the prescience of which might become excruciatingly evident on Wednesday, Nov. 3. Noting that the court's "dubious argument" that standardless, selective hand counts in Florida violated the Constitution's guarantee of "equal protection of the laws," National Review said:

"It is unclear why—with the different vote tabulation systems from county to county, with different levels of accuracy—this line of reasoning wouldn't render Florida's entire electoral system unconstitutional. Or, for that matter, the nation's electoral system. In fact, all of life can be considered a violation of the equal protection clause, which is why the clause has traditionally been the Swiss Army knife of liberal jurisprudence, fit for achieving any result, however arbitrary."

Which is why Jeffrey Rosen's recent essay "Rematch: Bush v. Gore, Round 2" (The New Republic, Oct. 4, 2004) is mandatory reading for both campaigns and citizens who want to brace themselves for the storm that could engulf the nation as soon as the polls close Nov. 2. Then the parties might unleash thousands of lawyers, each clutching a copy of Bush v. Gore, to ferret out "equal protection" violations in every closely contested state.

Consider the use of different voting systems—electronic touchscreens, punch cards, etc.—in different jurisdictions of a particular state. All systems are fallible, and different systems have different error rates. Does that mean that "equal protection" is denied when different systems are used? What if the distribution of the different systems within the state means that errors have a "disparate impact" on minorities?

Consider provisional ballots. Millions might be cast this year. (In 2000, more than 101,000 were cast in Los Angeles County, which has 3 percent of the nation's electorate.) They are cast by people who, for example, say they registered but whose names are not on the voter rolls. Or by people who cannot prove who they are, or where they live, or that they are citizens. Or by people who go to vote in the wrong place.

(Should the right to vote require a smidgen of responsibility? Should the electoral system be twisted in knots, paralyzed and exposed to vast fraud just to accommodate people too clueless to show up at the proper polling place? Never mind.)

Provisional ballots are sequestered and validated after the polls close. How long after? That depends on the sort of scrutiny they require. Or on what scrutiny this or that court might say is permitted. Is there an "equal protection" violation if all of a state's provisional ballots are not judged by a statewide standard? Or even if different states have different standards?

Legions of lawyers are poised to litigate all this and much more. Imagine courts tickling out all the implications of Bush v. Gore until enough conclusions are reached to allocate someone 270 electoral votes in, say, May.

How did we reach this danger? When Al Gore dragged Florida's courts into the election process, the U.S. Supreme Court did not make the prudent decision to refuse to be dragged into what Justice Felix Frankfurter called the "political thicket." If the court had allowed Florida's intrastate power struggle to proceed, here is what probably would have happened:

Florida's runaway Supreme Court would have done what it seemed determined to do: it would have continued to rewrite the state's election laws and vote-counting rules until they produced a Gore victory. Then Florida's Republican-controlled legislature would have done what the U.S. Constitution empowers state legislatures to do: choose electors. (Article II, Section 1: "Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors ...") No one can know what then would have happened. Congress, which counts the electoral votes, could have intervened. The Republican-controlled House would have endorsed the Florida Legislature's Bush electors. The 50-50 Senate, with Gore casting the tie-breaking vote, probably would have backed the Gore electors. In this anarchy, the Bush electors certified by Florida's secretary of State probably would have elected him.

And Bush v. Gore would not have been written. But it was, and it is pregnant with much mischief.

How much? Experts—there are few regarding these arcane questions—differ as to who might be inaugurated on Jan. 20. The speaker of the House? The secretary of State? If on that date enough electoral votes are still being disputed because so many popular-vote counts are being litigated, who—the law, says an actual expert, Akhil Reed Amar of Yale Law School, is murky—fills the presidency when the incumbent's term expires? Whoever it is will depart when Bush or Kerry finally gets 270 electoral votes, perhaps in May.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6262242/site/newsweek/

KCWolfman
10-18-2004, 11:31 AM
The legal quibbling over the last election has set an unfortunate precedent for some time to come, IMO.

Major elections may come down to judicial scrutiny for decades to come.

Pitt Gorilla
10-18-2004, 02:03 PM
I'm sure W could sue again and win. At least that way, we wouldn't have to even deal with an election!!! :)
(BTW, I'm just kidding)

the Talking Can
10-18-2004, 02:07 PM
"Noting that the court's "dubious argument" ...."

that's the understatement of a lifetime

Boyceofsummer
10-18-2004, 02:20 PM
light in 2000. Gore did not push a dispute nor did his committee request a recount of all votes in Florida. Not this year folks. This mofo will be contested until the last vote is counted and examined. Thoroughly! I recall a number of administrations ago Alexander Haig stating that he was in charge. This my vision of what may transpire well into spring and summer.

KC Jones
10-18-2004, 02:29 PM
IIRC there was an SNL skit where Gore and Bush decided to share the presidency in 2000. I wonder how an "interim" president would be determined? One might think it should be the sitting president, but perhaps that would be too troublesome. Perhaps they would ditcht the sitting ticket and go down the order of succession to the house speaker... J. Dennis Hastert.

wazu
10-18-2004, 02:45 PM
IIRC there was an SNL skit where Gore and Bush decided to share the presidency in 2000.

I remember that skit. "Co-Presidents". With the odd-couple theme and Bush always being a drunken slob while Gore was all uptight and Martha Stewart-like. Pretty funny stuff.

RINGLEADER
10-18-2004, 03:50 PM
light in 2000. Gore did not push a dispute nor did his committee request a recount of all votes in Florida. Not this year folks. This mofo will be contested until the last vote is counted and examined. Thoroughly! I recall a number of administrations ago Alexander Haig stating that he was in charge. This my vision of what may transpire well into spring and summer.

If Gore had gotten the thorough recount he wanted he still would have lost according to the media groups that ultimately did surf through all the ballots.

What I think will be interesting about what George Will is theorizing, however, is that Kerry will simply refuse to concede any states that are within a few percentage points. Now, you're going to have to buck the media who will be showing the raw totals and calling states as they have done in every other election (which is one of the big reasons it was hard for Gore to claim the presidency - he never had the numbers on the screen that showed him ahead).

I think Kerry and the Dems (or Bush and the GOPers) won't look so hot if states are called and they won't concede. And if they attempt to litigate their way to the White House I could see a serious backlash if there are no real grounds on which to make such an argument.

Taco John
10-18-2004, 05:12 PM
If Gore had gotten the thorough recount he wanted he still would have lost according to the media groups that ultimately did surf through all the ballots.


Actually, you've got it wrong.

If Gore would have gotten the recount of the selective counties that he wanted, he would have lost. If he would have asked for a recount of the whole state, he would have won.

It's a bit of a distinction, I know...

2bikemike
10-18-2004, 05:26 PM
Actually, you've got it wrong.

If Gore would have gotten the recount of the selective counties that he wanted, he would have lost. If he would have asked for a recount of the whole state, he would have won.

It's a bit of a distinction, I know...

No if it would have been a Statewide he still would have lost!

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A comprehensive study of the 2000 presidential election in Florida suggests that if the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed a statewide vote recount to proceed, Republican candidate George W. Bush would still have been elected president.

The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago conducted the six-month study for a consortium of eight news media companies, including CNN.

It's a bit of a distinction, I know....