Feeds

M$ Nemesis Boies fights for Al Gore

G-Dubya Bush losing Florida re-count battle

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Updated Celebrity legal-beagle David Boies, now famous for his antitrust work on behalf of Uncle Sam against Microsoft and his defence of Napster from heavy-handed onslaughts by the recording industry, has joined the swelling ranks of lawyers flooding into Florida to lend support (well, sell support), to the Gore campaign's efforts to get a thorough re-count of ballots in districts where the Veep did well.

Florida Judge Terry Lewis yesterday confirmed that Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris could enforce Tuesday evening's statutory deadline for all counties to certify their election returns, but also stated that Harris may not arbitrarily reject updated returns filed after that time.

Boies seized on that detail, and interpreted it to mean that Harris is obligated to accept all late returns unless she can show cause why they should be ignored.

"The court said that [Harris has] got to look at 'when was the request made; why was the request made; and did the canvassing board approach it in a sensible way.' All these kinds of things favour doing the re-count and understanding how people voted," Boies told reporters during a press conference Tuesday evening.

"We all hope that the Secretary of State will do the right thing. Now, if [she] arbitrarily refuses to accept the returns based on the re-count, and violates what the court has ruled is her duty - which is to accept those results unless she has a good reason not to - then we may be back in court," he said amiably and confidently.

(Presumably, helping Dubya win the election and thereby securing herself a sweet, cushy spot in his administration would not quite qualify as a 'good reason' for shutting down the re-counts.)

Harris emphasises that she has discretion to refuse updated returns, and hints that she will exercise it as liberally as possible. Tuesday evening she ordered all counties which intend to file amended results to have written petitions on her desk by two o'clock p.m. Wednesday, a very risky stratagem.

This smug little power-play could blow up spectacularly in her face if she cannot avoid accepting at least some hand-count returns from counties in which Gore did well. If that should push him over the top, she will be unable to accept any tit-for-tat returns from many Bush-inclined counties, since they will not have filed this notice of intent by the Wednesday afternoon deadline.

But she appears well seduced by her own power to influence the course of things, and shows confidence that she can shut down the re-counts: "Unless I determine, in the exercise of my discretion, that the facts and circumstances contained within these written statements, justify an amendment to today's official returns, the state Election Commission... will certify state-wide results reported to this office [by Tuesday evening's deadline]," a heavily made-up and palpably exhausted Harris told reporters late Tuesday.

The Florida election statutes are quite ambiguous, as we reported in a previous story. At this point it really is anyone's guess how the courts will interpret them.

Harris has obviously not been getting much sleep during the past week. Wednesday morning she filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court, asking that it stop the manual re-counts and declare itself the sole arbiter of all election squabbles, ostensibly to impose consistency on all the decisions.

"Most importantly," Harris wrote, "if county-wide manual re-counts continue before this court decides whether such re-counts are authorized and/or constitutional, the results will be broadcast to the nation, which will neither advance the process nor serve the interests of public policy."

In other words, Gore could look like a winner in public before she's had a chance to play all her cards on Dubya's behalf.

Unfortunately, the Florida Supremes disagreed, and late in the day shot down her motion to stop the manual re-counts, along with her motion to make theirs the sole venue of election disputes.

Meanwhile, the Bush campaign has taken the battle another notch toward the federal level, filing for an injunction in appellate court to stop all the Florida hand-counts, after a US district court failed to do so at their request late last week.

If the appeals motion fails, then the Bush team will have screwed itself royally, effectively handing to Gore a limited right to manual re-counts which they will be unable to match later if they need them. Failure here is a strong possibility, considering the traditional reluctance of federal courts to involve themselves in state elections. ®

Related Stories

Bush hand-count hypocrisy shot down
Rhetoric swells as Bush's lead evaporates
George Dubya will lose if he wins
Capitol Hill re-shuffle promises entertainment

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.