News Release

Supreme Court vs. Democracy?

DAVID COLE
Professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, Cole said today: “The U.S. Supreme Court has done what we all feared — it has decided the election itself, and has done so by a single vote. While the per curiam attempts to mask this fact, only five Justices — the five who likely voted for George W. Bush on November 7 — voted to bar any further recounts. That they did so on grounds that there was insufficient time — after their own intervention had delayed matters — raises serious questions about the Court’s legitimacy. In addition, it is ironic that the five conservative Justices, who typically take the most restrictive view toward individual rights, stopped the vote in the name of the equal protection clause.”

RON DANIELS
Executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-chair of the National Malcolm X Commemoration Commission, Daniels wrote: “Though election irregularities in Florida and across the nation were widespread, the most egregious violation was the thousands of Blacks who did manage to cast ballots only to have them thrown out by voting machines. This problem was aggravated by the disproportionate locating of antiquated voting machines in predominantly Black precincts in Florida. These are the ballots that constitute the ‘undercount’ which would have been rectified by the manual recount halted by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
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GWENDOLYN MINK
Professor of politics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Mink said today: “The Supreme Court not only stole the 2000 election from the people, it deranged our constitutional order. Yesterday’s decision was not just about who will be our president; it also was about the relationship of the Court to democracy. In one fell swoop, the majority jettisoned 40 years of jurisprudence promoting electoral equality. It set time limits on democracy, and then let the clock run out. It cried ‘equal protection,’ and then discarded votes that endanger its desired electoral outcome. It pleaded ‘state’s rights,’ and then knee-capped the Florida State Supreme Court in interpreting state law. It claimed ‘due process,’ and then gave the Florida legislature carte blanche to trample the people’s rights in elections. This is a throwback to the Lochner Era, when the Court contorted the Constitution to suit its economic and political sympathies.”

GREGORY PALAST
Palast writes the column “Inside Corporate America” for the Observer of London and is the author of a forthcoming book, Democratic Regulation. He said today: “A close examination suggests thousands of voters in Florida may have lost their right to vote based on a flaw-ridden list of purported ‘felons’ provided by a private firm, ChoicePoint, with tight Republican ties.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167