Counting the votes

The extraordinary presidential election ended not with a bang but with a legal whimper from the U.S. Supreme Court. The 5-4 decision in Al Gore v. George Bush was a mishmash, provoking four separate dissents and leaving legal scholars with many loose ends and citizens with lots of questions. The court accepted the idea of conducting a statewide manual recount in Florida, but the majority maintained that the Florida Supreme Court failed to provide a uniform standard for reviewing all votes—a failure judged to be a violation of the “equal protection” and “due process” provisions of the Constitution. And anyway, said the court, there was no time for Florida to adopt statewide standards, conduct a recount, and still meet the date for certifying electors. End of Al Gore’s case.


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