Tags: Appeals | Court | Moves | Quickly | Brevard | County | Falwell

Appeals Court Moves Quickly on Brevard County, Falwell Suit

Thursday, 16 November 2000 12:00 AM

On Wednesday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta agreed to expedite an appeal filed by three residents of Brevard County, Fla., who claim the hand counting of ballots in select Florida counties – all of which have canvassing boards controlled by Democrats – is unconstitutional.

The suit of the Florida residents has gotten little press notice but is apparently being taken more seriously by the federal appeals court than a similar appeal made by the Bush campaign this week.

The three Florida residents are represented by Liberty Counsel, an Orlando-based religious freedom law firm affiliated with Jerry Falwell Ministries. Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, and Jerry Falwell Jr. serve as co-counsel of the organization.

The appeal asks the court to immediately halt the manual recounts of ballots, arguing the selective recounting undermines the constitutional right of all citizens to have their votes count equally.

The federal appeals court has moved quickly to make a judgment on the case.

On Wednesday, the court directed the counties of Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Volusia, along with the secretary of elections, to file briefs by 7 a.m. Thursday. All counties except Miami-Dade responded to the court’s order.

In another sign the court is moving expeditiously on this case, the appeals court also agreed to impanel the entire court to hear the appeal, which means that the full 12 members of the court will sit, rather than the typical three-judge panel.

The appeals court put this case on a fast track, unlike the federal case filed by the Bush campaign late last week, which is before a three-judge panel.

Harvard attorney Lawrence Tribe, representing the Gore campaign, has filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the suit.

Already four attorneys general from several states, including Connecticut, Iowa and Oregon, have filed amicus briefs in support of the Liberty Counsel suit.

In a press release issued late Thursday, Dr. Jerry Falwell said: "Liberty Counsel has been involved in some crucial religious freedom cases in recent months; this appeal could very well be the most significant one they ever present in court. In fact, this case could be historic in that it actually determines who will sit in the Oval Office as our nation's president."

He added, "The manner in which the manual recount is being handled violates the equal protection of the voters in counties where there is no manual recount. In a statewide election, it is patently unfair to select only those counties for a manual recount where the county popular vote sided with one candidate."

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On Wednesday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta agreed to expedite an appeal filed by three residents of Brevard County, Fla., who claim the hand counting of ballots in select Florida counties - all of which have canvassing boards controlled by Democrats - is...
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2000-00-16
Thursday, 16 November 2000 12:00 AM
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