Justice Scalia Was Right!

Equal Protection for ALL Voters

So, despite those law professors and even lower court federal judges—as well as such commentators as Tony Lewis of the New York Times—who kept instructing us that there was no reason for the federal Supreme Court to get involved in what the Florida Supreme Court had done, it could not be clearer that Florida voters were denied equal protection of the laws—as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

As reported in the Voice and elsewhere, there were black voters who were also separately deprived of equal protection; and intensive investigations by civil rights organizations of these violations are continuing.

But the specific question before the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore was whether the further recounting of the ballots, ordered by the Florida Supreme Court, totally without uniform standards, would have resulted in denying basic fairness—equal protection of the laws—to all the voters involved in that recount.

In its December 12 decision, the Supreme Court referred to a landmark 1964 decision, Reynolds v. Sims, in which a previous Court had radically changed a state court's election procedures. The 8-1 opinion by Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that under the Equal Protection Clause, the right to vote "can be denied by a debasement or dilution of the weight of a citizen's vote just as effectively as by wholly prohibiting the free exercise" of the right to vote.

It is not the credibility of the Supreme Court that has been diminished by this decision. As you listen to the backlash, the candidates for that distinction will readily and volubly make themselves known, as they join Jesse Jackson.

The vilified Supreme Court knew that in every state, Americans who voted in the presidential election were involved, whether they knew it or not, in ensuring that the results of the Florida balloting met equal protection standards with regard to whether Al Gore or George Bush would be the next president.

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