December 12, 2003

December 12, 2000. Three years ago today, the Supreme Court (in the words of Atrios) "took a dump on democracy". That's probably as polite as I could put it. In a 5-4 vote, the Court decided to cut short the counting of votes in the 2000 presidential election. December 12, 2000 was one of the darkest days in this nation's history, truly a day of infamy.

"Scalia's principal justification for issuing a stay on the Florida recount resumption, permitted by the Florida Supreme Court, was that the recount would 'threaten irreparable harm to petitioner (Bush) ... by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election.' Scalia assumes here that Bush has won, but it is also clear that he feared that if the recount continued, the election could go to Gore. Taking issue with this hollow opinion, judicial conservative Terrance Sandlow stated, 'The balance of harms so unmistakably were on the side of Gore," and further, the stay was "an unmistakable partisan decision without any foundation in law.' The reaction of most jurists to the hijacking of the Fourteenth Amendment can be encapsulated in the words of Yale law professor Akhil Reed Amar, who has said that the court 'failed to cite a single case that, on its facts, comes close to supporting its analysis and result.'"

Not only that, but the majority justices expressly made the point that its ruling applied to these circumstances only, and could not be used as a precedent in any future case. ... Stevens: "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in [this Court] as the impartial guardian of the rule of law."

And what should be the #1 issue in the 2004 campaign (or maybe #1A after stopping the US's illegal war(s)) is the lack of any verifiable paper trails from electronic voting machines. Either party -- Democrats and Republicans -- could hijack an election, so this should be an issue of extreme importance to every single voter. Yet the media doesn't seem to think it's all that important.

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