Thursday, December 04, 2008


This Day in the History of Sound Judicial Rulings in Florida

On this day in 2000, Leon County Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls rejected all of Vice President Gore's arguments contesting the election results and denied his request for a hand count of more than 12,000 ballots in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties that registered no vote for president in machine recounts. Sauls declared from the bench that there is "no credible statistical evidence and no other competent substantial evidence" to establish a reasonable probability that Al Gore might win if granted a hand recount of the selected ballots. It was this ruling which the Florida Supreme Court reversed on December 8, which ruling, in turn, was reversed by the U. S. Supreme Court on December 12. Gore conceded the next day, 35 days too late.

Gore was a fool to cherry pick only a few Democrat heavy counties for recounts, which decision cost him any moral authority, and to limit his requests for hand recounts to undervotes (ballots with no valid choice for president on them). He would have been better served to ask for all counties and both under- and overvotes (ballots containing more than one choice for president). He still would have lost, but he would have looked better and gotten closer. His perspicacity has, apparently, not improved with age.


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