Bush's Supreme Court Brief - Excerpts

supreme court graphic scotus
Excerpts of the legal brief the Bush campaign filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

"Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman have filed a lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Court to contest the certified election results. The Florida Supreme Court's decision, which conflicts with both federal statutes and the federal Constitution, will thus continue to affect, and has the theoretical potential to change, the outcome of the presidential election in Florida, and thus the Nation. Reversal by this Court would restore the legislatively crafted method for appointing electors in Florida to its status prior to November 7, would allow the completion of the proper selection of presidential electors in Florida according to the plan contemplated by the Constitution, and would aid in bringing legal finality to this election." (Page 3.)

"The court below rejected Florida statutes and deadlines for the appointment of electors and the resolution of presidential election disputes as "hyper-technical." Instead, it resorted to its "equitable powers" to prescribe new standards and deadlines, suspend mandatory enforcement mechanisms, and curtail the discretion conferred on the state executive by the legislature. The decision below constitutes a clear departure from the legal requirements established before election day, and announces new rules governing the resolution of election disputes. The Florida Supreme Court thus consciously and boldly overrode Florida's "laws enacted prior to" election day and replaced them two weeks later with laws of its own invention." (Page 13.)

Read the entire brief here.
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"The Florida Legislature directly contemplated close elections when it enacted the controlling statutory provisions at issue. Florida election law not only authorizes machine and manual recounts, but sets explicit limits and short timeframes for the period during which they may be conducted. In passing Sections 102.111 and 102.112 the legislature plainly determined that expedition and finality were paramount considerations, and elevated those goals over the need for manual recounts that might threaten to drag on interminably.

If requested, manual recounts are neither required nor are they conducted on a statewide basis. The statutory deadline, by contrast, is expressed in unambiguously mandatory terms and applies uniformly throughout the state. No meaningful conflict can be discerned between the carefully confined time limits for the protest phase, including the manual recount provisions, and the statutory deadline provisions: manual recounts, under the law as it existed on November 7, must be completed within the deadline. The new, judicially established statutory deadline written in place of the one containd in Sections 102.111 and 102.112 also creates a new rule of law in that it effectively modifies the legislative provisions providing for contests to election results." (Page 24.)

"The Florida Supreme Court's decision thus stands as an obstacle to state executive officials' performance of their federal statutory duties. A finding by this Court that the Florida decision was inconsistent with the requirements of 3 U.S.C. Section 5 would accordingly require a declaration that the judgment below as a matter of federal law is a nullity, to the extent it purports to bind state executive officials with federally assigned responsibilities relating to the November 7 election and the choice of presidential electors. As a result, the Elections Canvassing Commission would be free to re-certify petitioner, once again, as the winner of the election contest in Florida, with a corrected vote total reflecting the vote tabulated in compliance with the statutory deadline of November 14. (Page 31.)