Are you looking forward to putting this nasty political season behind us and ending the uncertainty over who will be President for the next four years?
Syndicated columnist George Will says that it could be spring before we know who won. Will writes:
“How did we reach this danger? When Al Gore dragged Florida’s courts into the election process, the U.S. Supreme Court did not make the prudent decision to refuse to be dragged into what Justice Felix Frankfurter called the ’political thicket.’ If the court had allowed Florida’s intrastate power struggle to proceed, here is what probably would have happened:
“Florida’s runaway Supreme Court would have done what it seemed determined to do: it would have continued to rewrite the state’s election laws and vote-counting rules until they produced a Gore victory. Then Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature would have done what the U.S. Constitution empowers state legislatures to do: choose electors. (Article II, Section 1: ’Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors …’) No one can know what then would have happened. Congress, which counts the electoral votes, could have intervened. The Republican-controlled House would have endorsed the Florida Legislature’s Bush electors. The 50-50 Senate, with Gore casting the tie-breaking vote, probably would have backed the Gore electors. In this anarchy, the Bush electors certified by Florida’s secretary of State probably would have elected him.
“And Bush v. Gore would not have been written. But it was, and it is pregnant with much mischief.
“How much? Experts–there are few regarding these arcane questions–differ as to who might be inaugurated on Jan. 20. The speaker of the House? The secretary of State? If on that date enough electoral votes are still being disputed because so many popular-vote counts are being litigated, who–the law, says an actual expert, Akhil Reed Amar of Yale Law School, is murky–fills the presidency when the incumbent’s term expires? Whoever it is will depart when Bush or Kerry finally gets 270 electoral votes, perhaps in May.”
Is this a harbinger of things to come? Matt Drudge reports that there are already disputes over how early ballots are collected in Florida.