So, some of you are still buying into Al Gore’s claim that he is
fighting for the little people?
Remember his speech following the Florida Supreme Court’s decision
trying to hand him the election by judicial fiat? Here is part of what
Mr. Gore told us:
“I want to thank the citizen volunteers. … They are doing their
jobs diligently and seriously under difficult conditions … they are
rising to the occasion.”
That was Tuesday night, when it appeared things were going Gore’s
way. On Wednesday, the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board unanimously decided
that they couldn’t complete a full manual recount before the Supreme
Court’s Sunday deadline, so they voted to discontinue the count and
revert to the vote totals they certified on Nov. 8.
The board’s reasoning was simple and direct. Neither state law nor
fairness would countenance a partial recount because that would
necessarily result in the disenfranchisement of all other voters whose
votes could not be counted in time.
Gore responded almost immediately through his recount quarterback,
Bill “Bugsy” Daley, who said that they would immediately seek a court
order compelling Miami-Dade to resume its manual recount. Missing from
Daley’s statement was a reaffirmation of Gore’s confidence and trust in
the “little people” on the canvassing board. He made no mention of their
“diligence,” the “difficult conditions” under which they are operating,
or their “rising to the occasion.”
No. On the turn of a dime, the “little people” are no longer Gore’s
allies, but his enemies, who he has taken to court because they did not
agree to proceed with an inherently unfair process designed to secure
To Gore, this is not about the “little people,” but the craven
pursuit of political power. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be willing to
sacrifice the rule of law in his relentless quest for the presidency.
Indeed, the most profound lesson to emerge from the Florida follies is
the indispensability of the rule of law to the stability of our system
and the preservation of our liberties.
A corollary principle to the rule of law is that governmental bodies,
including courts, must not change rules in the middle of a process, such
as the election tabulation process.
Due process and fundamental fairness dictate that people have a right
to rely on currently existing laws and rules. Those rules may not be
administered arbitrarily or retrospectively.
But this post-election process has revealed nothing, if not the
willingness of the Gore team to subvert any rules or laws necessary to
achieve an election victory.
When the automatically mandated machine recount didn’t go his way,
Gore requested a manual recount in four of the most Gore-favoring
counties. Contrary to popular opinion, the Florida statutes do not
permit a manual recount in the absence of evidence of voter fraud or
machine error. When one of those counties determined that the statutory
standard for a full recount had not been met, Gore bullied its
canvassing board with the threat of litigation into reversing itself.
When the votes weren’t going sufficiently to suit him, Gore pressured
the boards to change the rules to give him more votes. When the
secretary of state acted according to her statutory duty to enforce the
deadline for vote certification, he sued to compel her to ignore the
deadline. When the trial court ruled that the secretary of state
properly exercised her authority under the statute, he appealed to the
Florida Supreme Court.
Gore’s essential argument to the court was that it should ignore the
laws duly enacted by the legislature, and manufacture its own laws to
suspend the mandatory filing deadline and permit a manual recount on a
The court’s decision demonstrated the danger in courts usurping the
constitutional authority of the legislature. Ostensibly to safeguard the
rights of the “little people,” the court delivered Gore exactly what he
wanted and, in the process, betrayed its sacred trust to those very
people to adhere to its constitutionally assigned role and the rule of
With all of its creative juices the court could not devise a way to
keep the counting going long enough to complete the process in time for
the Florida electors to be selected and participate in the presidential
election process. Ironically, it was the “little people” who finally