Maggie Gallagher
It's over. The court-ordered body blows have left Al Gore's post-election litigation strategy a bad joke. Butterfly ballots? Legal. Yet another recount? Illegal. Evidence of "illegality, dishonesty, gross negligence, improper influence, coercion or fraud" in this election count? Zilch, ruled Judge Sauls. Recounts in only two Democrat counties? Absurd. In a "statewide election for president," reprimanded Judge Sauls, "the plaintiff would necessarily have to ... seek as a remedy ... a review and recount of all ballots in all the counties in this state."

That's not even counting the Supreme Court's slapdown of the Florida Supreme Court. Don't think you are the boss around here, the Florida Supremes told Secretary of State Katherine Harris, only to be reminded by the Big Nine that they aren't the supreme dogs either.

"There are expressions in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Florida that may be read to indicate that it construed the Florida Election Code without regard to the extent to which the Florida Constitution could, consistent with Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 (of the Constitution) 'circumscribe the legislative power,'" the federal court said.

Translation: We can't make hide nor tail of your hasty decision, which if read on its merits seems to absurdly suggest the Florida Constitution, of which you are the supreme arbiters, trumps the U.S. Constitution, of which (may we remind you) you are not the supreme arbiters.

"The Florida Supreme Court cited 3 U.S.C. Section 1-10 in a footnote of its opinion, but did not discuss Section 5 ... (which) would counsel against any construction of the Election Code that Congress might deem to be a change in law. ... The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida is therefore vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion."

Translation: Try again. Take your time. The whole thing is moot anyway because Congress can count the Electoral College slate that reflects the will of the state legislature, not the state supreme court. You might want to consider that the next time you rewrite election laws after the election.

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.