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Law offers two paths to U.S. Supreme Court
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- George W. Bush accused the Florida Supreme Court Tuesday of overreaching its authority by allowing the hand recounting of votes in three counties to continue. He said Wednesday he would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled that Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris must accept amended vote totals until Sunday at 5 p.m. -- if her office is open on Sunday -- or else Monday at 9 a.m.
There are two ways in which Bush can seek intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court. He must claim a violation of the U.S. Constitution or appeal through the federal system.
Federal courts are historically reluctant to interfere in the state process of running elections.
The U.S. Supreme Court's Rule 10 says that the high court will consider an appeal when "a state court of last resort has decided an important question of federal law that has not been, but should be, settled by this court."
The critical aspect in obtaining review by the U.S. Supreme Court is to identify a federal question. That is why the Bush campaign has focussed its argument on the notion that hand counting the ballots in several Florida counties violates the "equal protection" provision of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment. Bush argues selective hand counting means all votes are not treated equally.
George W. Bush has already unsuccessfully asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta for an injunction to stop the hand recounts in Florida. However, the court did not act on the merits of the argument, so Bush could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to enjoin all recounts or he could file for a hearing with the U.S. Supreme Court "before judgement" is made in the 11th Circuit.
An appeal for an injunction would be filed with Justice Anthony Kennedy who has oversight for the 11th Circuit. Kennedy would probably canvass the full court before granting or denying an injunction.
An appeal for review would go to the full court and require four justices to concur with granting a hearing.
Deadlines and 'will of the voters' debated in Florida Supreme Court
Florida State Courts
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