The Florida court's ruling on Tuesday night is even more insane than the typical judicial imperialism. Usually, when judges have a hankering to legislate, they choose territory untrod by the written law. Where the law is silent, they concoct "penumbras" and "emanations" and discover hitherto unnoticed, invisible provisions. The Florida decision is more lawless than Roe vs. Wade.
Florida law isn't silent on the question of when the election is over. In no uncertain terms, the law imposes a mandatory seven-day deadline on the submission of election returns. The kangaroo court simply took the seven-day statutory deadline and replaced it with a 19-day deadline. Why not rename the state bird? Then at least only one state would have to deal with the justices' collective senility. Now the whole country isn't sure whether to wait out the process or call 911.
Poor Secretary of State Katherine Harris is subject to directly opposed legal commands. She is, of course, required to follow Florida law, as are all Florida residents (except, evidently, judges). And Florida law explicitly directs her to "ignore" any election returns submitted after the seven-day deadline and to certify the electors.
But at the same time, the order of the Florida Supreme Court commands Harris to defy the law -- the one duly enacted by proper legislative channels long before anyone knew precisely how much time Al Gore would need to steal votes (19 days). In order to follow the law, she will have to violate the court's lunatic order.
It's as if state law set a 60-mile-an-hour speed limit and the Florida Supreme Court came along and specifically ordered Katherine Harris to drive her car at 120 miles per hour and to disregard traffic signals -- provided George W. Bush was in front of her car.
Needless to say, the Florida Legislature really ought to stop diddling and impeach these aspiring Pol Pots. But while it's unfortunate that the good people of Florida have to endure a bunch of ambulance-chasers in their dotage trying to assume totalitarian powers over their state, that's not the main issue right now.
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