Once again, Vice President Al Gore’s hopes for a presidency depend on the will of the Florida Supreme Court. Yesterday, the court agreed to hear Gore’s appeal of a Florida circuit judge’s refusal to overturn the state’s declaration of George W. Bush as its victor, greatly limiting the likelihood Gore will become president. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court sent back a decision the Florida Supreme Court made on Nov. 14, that extended the state’s ballot-count deadline, back to the Democrat-dominated court for clarification. With these two important cases in its hands, the Florida Supreme Court might have the final judicial say in deciding the election, especially considering the U.S. Supreme Court’s reluctance to meddle in state electoral disputes.
Circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls issued his ruling about five hours after the U.S. Supreme Court offered its unanimous, unsigned decision. Sauls rejected every argument Gore’s legal team made in justifying their request to have the Bush victory overturned and manual ballot recounts initiated immediately. In part, the judge seemed to be responding to the U.S. Supreme Court’s dissatisfaction with the Florida Supreme Court decision.
Less than a week remains until each state’s presidential electors must be selected so that they may participate in choosing the next president. Rather than involving itself further in this post-election dispute, the Florida Supreme Court should abstain from ruling further on the matter.