SUPREME COURT: RECOUNT ISSUES RETURN TO FLA., BUT TIME'S UP
by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2000 -- In a complex opinion that essentially = told the Florida Supreme Court to create uniform standards for counting dis= puted ballots in this year's presidential election but that it is too late = to actually count the votes, and told Florida's legislature its slate of Ge= orge W. Bush electors is certified to Congress but that if uniform standard= s are adopted and a recount completed before Dec. 18 their slate may be cha= llenged by one for Vice President Albert Gore Jr., the U.S. Supreme Court l= ate tonight skillfully handed the presidency to Bush and walked away with t= he black robes of its reputation torn to rags.
The court's 65-page, 5-4 ruling produced six opinions and a stingin= g rebuke from Justice John Paul Stevens: "Although we may never know withc= omplete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential el= ection, the identity of the loser isperfectly clear. It is the nation's con= fidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."
Both the Bush and Gore camps said after the 10 p.m. EST ruling that they= would study the opinion before making any statement to reporters about it.
A spokesperson for the campaign of Gore and Sen. Joseph Lieberman said= they expect to address the nation some time tomorrow, while the Bush camp = remained low key in hopes of a conciliatory concession speech by Gore.