by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
December 13, 2000
SUPREME COURT: RECOUNT ISSUES RETURN TO FLA., BUT TIME'S UP
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2000 -- In a complex opinion that essentially told the Florida Supreme Court to create uniform standards for counting disputed 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 George W. Bush electors is certified to Congress but that if uniform standards are adopted and a recount completed before Dec. 18 their slate may be challenged by one for Vice President Albert Gore Jr., the U.S. Supreme Court late tonight skillfully handed the presidency to Mr. Bush and walked away with the black robes of its reputation torn to rags.
The court's 65-page, 5-4 ruling produced six opinions and a stinging rebuke from Justice John Paul Stevens: "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence 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 resytained its comments in hopes of a conciliatory concession speech by Gore.