Courtroom Calendar

Leon County Circuit Judge N. Sander Sauls gestures during a hearing in his Tallahassee, Fla., courtroom on Monday, Nov. 27, 2000. Sauls on Monday set out a timetable for the suit by Democrat Al Gore against the state's decision to certify Republican George W. Bush as victor of the presidential election in Florida and therefore the U.S. (
The next few weeks could be busy in the Florida courtroom where Leon Circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls will hear Al Gore's legal challenge to Florida's election results.

Gore's legal filings reverberated with a the sense of a race with the clock. Repeatedly his lawyers used the words "emergency" and "urgent."

Late Tuesday, Judge Sauls said he would take possession of 3,300 Palm Beach ballots and 10,750 ones from Miami-Dade later this week. He set a Saturday hearing to decide whether there must be a ballot recount in the battle over whether Gore or George W. Bush won Florida.

Here are the proposed legal calendars set by the players:

Judge Sauls' calendar:

  • Nov. 28: Both sides are to file legal briefs and exchange witness information.

  • Nov. 29-Dec. 1: Period for ballots and sample voting booths and machines to be transported to Tallahassee from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties under heavy security.

  • Dec. 2: An all-day hearing will determine whether Gore lawyers win a move to have the votes recounted by judges or court clerks.

  • Dec. 3: Possible appeals. Counting of disputed ballots could begin.

The calendar proposed by Al Gore's lawyers:

  • Nov. 28: Witnesses served. Court holds hearing and issues an order on the schedule for counting some 13,000 contested ballots from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

  • Democrats suggest the disputed votes be tallied by either the court clerks in the counties, the Leon County Circuit Court's clerk or judges of the Leon County Circuit Court, excluding the judge presiding over the case.

  • Nov. 29: Ballots received and court review begins. Discovery of evidence begins.

  • Nov. 30: Responsive pleadings due. Ballot review and discovery continue.

  • Dec. 4-5: Evidentiary hearings held.

  • Dec. 5: The ballot review and discovery conclude.

  • Dec. 6: The judge rules. Possible appeals filed.

  • Dec. 7: Both parties exchange briefs.

  • Dec. 8: Florida Supreme Court holds hearings on the appeals.

  • Dec. 9: Florida Supreme Court rules.

  • Dec. 12: Florida finalizes and mails its slate of electors.

  • Dec. 18: Electoral College meets.

George W. Bush's proposed court calendar:

  • Nov. 30: Bush's witness list submitted.

  • Dec. 1: Gore's answer due.

  • Dec. 2: Discovery of evidence begins.

  • Dec. 4: Discovery of evidence ends.

  • Dec. 5: Motions due.

  • Dec. 6: Argue motions.

  • Dec. 7: Evidential hearing begins (if needed).

  • Dec. 11: Evidential hearing ends.

  • Dec. 12: Florida finalizes and mails its slate of electors.

  • Dec. 18: Eectoral College meets.
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