Supreme Court to democracy: Drop dead

By Gary Kamiya


Letters to the Editor
December 15, 2000 1:20PM (UTC)

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Looks like we're going to have at least four years' worth of sour grapes -- and a bumper harvest at that. Democrats don't seem to mind when the Florida Supreme Court rewrote the law not once but twice for Al Gore, and apparently the 14th Amendment and the concept of equal protection only apply to liberals. But when the U.S. Supreme Court defends the Constitution and rebuffs the idiocy and grotesque arrogance of the Florida judiciary, it's suddenly a dark day in America.

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The pathetic whining about not being able to change the rules after the election has taken place and the "poverty stricken" residents of Palm Beach not having optical scanners sickens me, but after eight years of Clinton/Gore, I should have expected as much. Here's to four years of Sore/Loserman.

-- Eric Schwartz

Remember, seven out of nine justices agreed that there were "major" constitutional issues with the Florida Supreme Court ruling. When the fact that only five of the nine agreed on a remedy is underscored, and everyone cries political foul, it's typical of the supporters of Al Gore. So, what should they have done? Would it have been fair for Democratic operative to "divine" votes for Al Gore? No! So I guess it all worked out. You guys just didn't think that Bush was going to beat you at your own game. He's more Clinton than even you guys realized.

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-- Daniel Burns

I agree with Gary Kamiya's analysis of the Supreme Court's role in the presidential election. I would ask anyone who still believes in the judicial integrity of the conservative justices of the Supreme Court to please offer a sensible explanation of why, if the majority was so genuinely concerned about the equal protection implications of conducting recounts under differing standards, did not a single justice dissent from the court's denial of certiorari in the Bush campaign's petition appealing the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal's denial of their emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal of the district court's decision against Bush on the equal protection clause issue. The issue, which on Dec. 12 was a deal-breaker for the Supreme Court given the lack of time remaining under the artificial deadline they imposed, was squarely before the court when it denied that petition on Nov. 24, nearly three weeks previously. What changed between November 24 and Dec. 12? Was there an Equal Protection Clause epiphany? Or was it merely the increased risk that Bush's coronation might somehow go awry?

-- Ben Vernia

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In your otherwise excellent editorial, you wrote: "If a court received evidence that a condemned prisoner was actually innocent, but that evidence arrived five minutes after some sub-clerk's filing deadline, you would not expect it to simply blithely proceed with the execution on the grounds that proper paperwork had not been done."

Please see Herrera vs. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993), a Supreme Court case in which the court ruled that evidence of actual innocence could not be used to postpone an execution for further proceedings through a federal habeas corpus action if the evidence was found too late. This case is almost exactly comparable with your comparison.

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Leonel Herrera was executed on May 12, 1993.

-- Emilia G. Ballentine

This article really set the record straight on this very ghastly chapter in American jurisprudence. Long after the shallow concession/victory speeches and mumbo jumbo about "unity" are forgotten, the shameless, disgustingly partisan conduct of the U.S. Supreme Court the night before will be remembered as a dagger in the back of democracy. The truth is that we, the American people, have been betrayed by our government, and by denying our right to hear the truth about what happened in Florida, the nation's highest court became the nation's lowest court overnight.

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-- Brian Bragg


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