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December 04, 2000 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-12-04

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 4, 2000
D e mosaoE L E C T I O N rouh
Deonstrators crowd streets outside high court

By Jeremy W. Peters
Daily Staff Reporter
WASHINGTON - The mob ruled Friday
outside the nation's highest court.
Numbering in the thousands, impassioned
and often confrontational demonstrators crowd-
ed the sidewalks surrounding the Supreme
Court to weigh in on the disputed presidential
.riter Al Gore's front man, former Clinton
aidministration Secretary of State Warren
Cliistopher, into this sea of partisan bickering
and the reaction from George W. Bush support-
ers as Christopher made his way to television
cameras set up in front of the Court could have
been easily predicted.
The jeering from Bush supporters was so dis-
ruptiye that Christopher was unable to hold an
interview with ABC News immediately follow-
ing the proceedings, a source outside the court
tepp ted.
: porters attempting to conduct interviews
Wthe numerous attorneys, legal scholars and
m1jnbers of Congress exiting the court were
fbZ'ed to compete with shouting from both
11ii and Gore zealots.
(ore partisans, though clearly outnumbered,
wewinot to be outperformed.
ctivists Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton led
doitinued from Page 1A
St dging from the justices' questions, the hi
cp could remain above the fray of partisanship
rTahing a decision.
STbey were equally forthright to Bush law)
J dore Olson and Gore lawyer Lawrence Tribe
4gidsioning them primarily on issues of state ver
ereal law - the conflict at the center of this ca
s Palm Beach C'ountv Camvassing Board.
- 1We are looking for a federal issue," Justi
-At}ony Kennedy said, interrupting Olson about t
intes into arguments. "If the state Supreme Co
relied on a federal issue or a federal backgrou
principle and got it wrong, then you can be here."
Td this challenge, Olson replied, "I'm simply s;
ing that it blew past the important provisions of S
tiorr5 and the benefits Section 5 gives to the states
the voters in that state and to the people running
office in that state."
Section 5 of Title 3 of the United States Code,t
law at the center of Bush's case, allows states to dev
electoral rules before an election. It was enacted al
the disputed presidential election of 1876 in whi
Rutherford B. Hayes defeated Samuel Tilden inI
Electoral College after losing the popular vote. Qu
tions were raised about the manner in which sta
conducted their electoral procedures.
Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg pressed Olson on c
of the most contentious aspects of the high cou
acceptance to review this case: The fact that the U
Supreme Court rarely interferes with the rulings

marches in defense of Gore as other, less high-
profile demonstrators attempted to outmuscle
Bush advocates.
"I'm a little bit stunned by how many
Bush/Cheney supporters are here," said
Rochelle Tobias, a Baltimore resident. "What
really stuns me is the fear Bush people have of a
hand count."
Tobias said she made the trip to Washington as
an exercise of her First Amendment right to
protest. "I'm here because I feel it is a necessary
democratic principle to defend what I believe."
That seemed to be the overarching sentiment
among demonstrators: To take advantage of the
right to assembly.
"As long as everyone stays peaceful, we're
fine. This is the greatest stage in the world and
what better place to have an open dialogue," said
Bush supporter Jim McBride, who said he drove
to Washington from Long Beach Island. N.J., to
document the day's events on fih for his grand-
Replacing the usual "Sore-Loserman" and
"We've been Bushwacked" signs that have been
endlessly brandished at protests across the
nation, demonstrators at the Supreme Court
were a bit more creative.
Many Bush proponents held signs resembling
the movie poster from Jim Carrev's latest film
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas." On the sign,

Gore's face was superimposed over Carrey's and
it read, "How the Gorinch almost stole Florida."
"I got it on the Internet. You can get every-
thing on the Internet these days;' said Suzanne
Spillers when asked where she got her "Gor-
inch" sign.
Spillers is a resident of Palm Beach County,
Fla., where Gore's legal team is arguing disputed
ballots should be included in the state's final
"Bush won the first count, he won the recount
and the one after that,' Spillers said, reciting a
phrase often uttered by Republicans. "Vice Pres-
ident Gore needs to be a statesman and concede.
He needs to conie back another day. That's how
it works in America."
Gore ally Kyle Lierman, a 14-year-old from
Bethesda, Md., who came to the Supreme Court
with his Social Studies class, was parading in
front of the Court with his homemade sign.
Lierman made an anagram of Gore's name on
his sign. It read, "Government Of the people
Requires that Each vote counts," spelling
"GORE" down the side."
"We're just here to participate in a participato-
ry democracy," Lierman said. "I guess I thought
there would be a little more rioting, but there
wasn't and that's great. I was expecting to see
Bush people to get punched in the face by Gore
people but that didn't happen."

Officers separate supporters of Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush outside the
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"we owe the highest respect to what the state
supreme Court says. It's the state's law."
-Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg

state supreme courts.
"I do not know of any case where we have
impugned a state Supreme Court in the way you are
doim, in this case," Ginsburg said. "I mean, in case
after case we have said we owe the highest respect to
what the state Supreme Court says. It's the state's law."
Olson retorted by citing the specifics of this case.
"This is a very unusual situation, Justice Ginsburg,
because it is in the context of a presidential election,
and it is in the context of federal rights" he said.
The justices were no easier on Tribe. "I mean, it had
to register somehow with the Florida courts that that
statute (Section 5) was there and that it might be in
the state's best interest not to go around changing the
law after the election', O'Connor said.
Tribe had to defend himself on this point many times
in his 45-minute argument. "It seems to me that as a
tiebreaker, as a way of shedding light on the provisions
that are in conflict, so long as it's not done in a way that
conflicts with a federal mandate, they (the Florida
Supreme Court) are not violating any ..." Tribe said
before being interrupted by Justice Antonin Scalia.
"I don't agree with that," Scalia said. "I read the
Florida court's opinion as quite clearly saying, hav-
ing determined what the legislative intent was, we
find that our state constitution trumps that legislative

intent. I don't think there is any other way to read it
and that is a real problem."
Tribe also faced questions about the Nov. 26 dead-
line for counties to submit their vote totals, which
Bush lawyers have argued is arbitrary. "What is the
November 26 date." Justice Steven Brever asked. "Has
(the Florida Court) created a new date ? What is it?"
"Well it looks to me like an exercise of the chancel-
lor's foot:' Tribe responded. admitting somewhat that
the date was not drawn based on any logic. "When I
saw the date, November 26, I couldn't come up with an
algorithm or a formula that would generate it, but the
court confronted with the task of drawing what are
sometimes inevitably arbitrary lines."
After he argued his case before the court, Tribe
said he was not discouraged by the questioning.
"They have the tendency to put on the skeptic's hat
to sort of probe the underbelly of an argument," he
said in reference to the justices' questions.
As for the possible outcome of the case, Tribe
said, "I wouldn't bet my life on it."
Olson said he too felt comfortable with the justice's
line of questions. "I would characterize their reaction
to our argument as being interested in what we had to
say," he said. "Many times the justices ask questions to
make sure that all of the questions are explored fully."

Continued from Page 1A
Gore lieutenant Warren Christopher
also mentioned a Democratic lawsuit in
Seminole County, where GOP officials
were allowed to add information to
thousands of absentee ballot applica-
tions already submitted to election offi-
cials. Their options running low, Gore
aides are pinning more of their hopes on
the case in east Florida.
Christopher, appearing oi CNN,
charged that Cheney "is trying to hurry
history along."
And yet the question kept coming:
When would Gore concede?
"I can assure you that the vice presi-
dent, when the time comes, will con-
cede in a very gracious way. ie
understands his obligations to the peo-
ple of the country," Christopher said, not
predicting when that time would come.
"It depends upon when the Florida
courts rule. The date of Dec. 12, of
course, is an important date," he said.
States select their electors Dec. 12 and
the Electoral College meets Dec. 18.
Democratic lawyers said privately
they expected Sauls to rule against
them, and were preparing an appeal to
the state Supreme Court. Gore predicted
whichever side loses would appeal.

Bush laid lown at his Crawford, Texas
ranch one day after iieetitig with GOP
congressional leaders in a presidential-
style summit.
Gore won the national popular vote by
more than 300,000 votes, but without
Florida he falls short of the 270 electoral
votes required to win the presidency. The
state's 25 electoral votes would put Bush
over the top by a margin of one.
Secretary of State Katherine Harris,
Bush ally, certified his minuscule lead1
Nov. 26, forcing Gore to take the
unprecedented step of contesting a pres-
idential election result or quit the race.
That led Gore to Sauls' court, where
lawyers plowed through hours of dry
testimony from GOP witnesses. Gore's
attorneys asked Sauls to quicken the
pace or allow the recounts to begin
before he rules.
Sauls rejected the request, saying h
needs to determine that a recount is
legal before ordering one.
"That's what we're in the process. of
doing," he said, peering over glasses and
rocking in his leather chair.
Delivering a boost to Gore's case, one
Bush witness - voting machine expert
John Ahimann of Napa, Calif. - testi-'
fled under cross-examination that hand
recounts are advisable "in very close

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