Tags: Supremely | Unfair

Supremely Unfair

Wednesday, 22 November 2000 12:00 AM

I read the opinion this morning and, to me, it seemed like a stretch. It seemed that the court had a predetermined intent to make sure that those hand counts would be added to the totals, then set about trying to gin up a legal argument to support its decision. It’s just what most observers expected of a court that is universally described as "activist," i.e., a court that creates new laws.

What we have now, thanks to the Florida Supreme Court, is a situation where the voters in a few heavily Democratic districts – chosen by Democrats – will have their votes scrutinized to a much higher degree than the votes of people across the country to determine who our next president will be.

You should see some of the twisted analysis in the court’s decision.

But the court failed to set any standards! No direction whatsoever from the Florida Supreme Court as to whether or not dimpled chads, pregnant chads, expectant chads, hanging chads, hung chads, distressed chads, depressed chads, angry chads, or happy chads must be counted as votes. This, evidently, is completely up to the various county canvassing boards. This means that the standards for a recount can be (and, in fact, are) completely different for each of the three counties now engaged in a recount.

The court has told these counties that they are free to come up with virtually any set of standards they desire and then proceed with the count.

These three counties were chosen by the Democrats for a reason. They’re strongly Democratic and the vote and vote-count process is solidly under partisan Democratic control.

I think we all know where this is going.

First we go to the case of Nelson V. Robinson, 301 So. 2d 508, Fla. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 1974. This is a case involving a confusing ballot where some candidates claimed that it was difficult for the voters to find their names and cast a proper vote for them. In this case the appeals court actually ruled that the voter has a responsibility to go into that voting booth, pay attention, follow the instructions, find their candidate on the ballot, and cast their vote properly. Imagine that – a court saying that people need to conduct themselves responsibly.

Here’s a portion of the ruling from that case:

"… if a candidate appears on the ballot in such a position that he can be found by the voters upon a reasonable study of the ballot, then such voters have been afforded a full, free and open opportunity to make their choice for or against that particular candidate; and the candidate himself has no constitutional right to a particular spot on the ballot which might make the voters’ choice easier. His constitutional rights in the matter end when his name is placed on the ballot. Thereafter, the right is in the voters to have a fair and reasonable opportunity to find it; and as to this, it has been observed that the constitution intended that a voter search for the name of the candidate of his choice … without regard to others on the ballot. Furthermore, it assumes his ability to read and his intelligence to indicate his choice with the degree of care commensurate with the solemnity of the occasion."

So, there you have it. The Florida appeals courts actually had the audacity to suggest that an informed voter should be able to go into the voting booth, find their candidate’s name, and cast a proper vote for that candidate. The court actually suggested that voting was a solemn occasion and that the voter actually had a responsibility to pay attention.

But, that was then. This is now. We go to yesterday’s Florida Supreme Court decision [Florida Democratic Party, Appellant, vs. Katherine Harris etc, et al.]. I’ve read the entire decision and nowhere do I find any mention that voters have any responsibility to exercise any degree of care whatsoever in casting their votes. All the court says is that they have a right to have their voice heard – little more. No language about " .. indicat([ing] his choice with the degree of care commensurate with the solemnity of the occasion."

We shouldn’t be surprised. Democratic activists have been pushing for a complete elimination of all standards of conduct for citizens for some time now. The liberal mantra dictates that people cannot be held responsible for their actions. After all, if you hold people responsible for their actions, how can you then reward them with government goodies for their irresponsibility?

If this court were to hold that people actually had some responsibility to find their candidate and then to cast a valid vote – in other words,

If people are to be held responsible for casting a valid vote, what else can they be held responsible for? Their inability to get a job? Their lack of job skills? Their lack of a work ethic? Their stupid decision making?

You do realize that Miami-Dade County cannot possibly finish its hand recount by the 5 p.m. deadline on Sunday, don’t you? This seems to be OK with the Florida Supreme Court. I could find nothing in the order which says that the hand count has to cover all precincts in a county. In other words, a county can chose to recount the votes in precincts where the support for one particular candidate is deemed to be high, and go with the original count in precincts where the other candidate might pick up support, and this is all perfectly fair?

During Al Gore’s little victory speech last night he said that all Americans share "one hope."

Sorry, Al, but there are some very different "hopes" out there. Conflicting hopes.

While Gore supporters hope for more government largess and government-provided security, Bush supporters hope for more economic liberty and a less intrusive government. While Gore supporters hope for more redistribution of the wealth, Bush supporters hope that they will be able to keep just a bit more of the money they earn.

No, Americans don’t share "one hope." Their desires, dreams and hopes contrast sharply. The difference between the hopes and dreams of Democratic supporters and those who support George Bush are as different as the dreams of those who put their future and their security in the hands of government and those who seek the freedom and opportunity to determine their own futures.

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I read the opinion this morning and, to me, it seemed like a stretch. It seemed that the court had a predetermined intent to make sure that those hand counts would be added to the totals, then set about trying to gin up a legal argument to support its decision. It's just...
Wednesday, 22 November 2000 12:00 AM
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