Patterico's Pontifications

11/1/2008

L.A. Times Erroneously Claims that the Supreme Court “Determined” That Bush Won the Presidency in 2000

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:23 am

The L.A. Times reports:

Obama dispatched Al Gore to Florida — a merging of man and state that served as painful symbolism to Democrats of the need to cast every ballot.

“Vote early. Take people with you to the polls,” the former vice president said at a rally in Coconut Creek. Gore’s 2000 campaign foundered in Florida after ballot problems led to a long legal standoff. The Supreme Court ultimately determined that Bush had won the presidency with a 537-vote margin in Florida.

No, it didn’t.

This statement is on the front page of today’s paper:

But the statement is false. It apparently comes from some reporter who heard too many people say at the water cooler that the Supreme Court awarded the Presidency to George W. Bush.

But that’s not what happened. Katherine Harris, Florida’s Secretary of State, is the person who certified George W. Bush as the winner, and the margin of victory at 537 votes.

The Supreme Court did no such thing. In its per curiam opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed an order of the Florida Supreme Court ordering a recount to proceed. The Court held that the standardless manual recounts in Florida violated the Equal Protection Clause.

It is true that the Court’s actions in halting the recount were a critical factor in the process. But the Supreme Court made no determination as to who had won the presidency. That was Katherine Harris.

You can read the opinion as many times as you like, but you’ll see no statement to the effect: “The Court hereby determines that George W. Bush has won the presidency of the United States by a margin of 537 votes.” Instead, the Court simply stated: “The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”

Could the L.A. Times have been talking about the Florida Supreme Court? No. On remand, the Florida Supreme Court determined (.pdf) that the appellants were not legally entitled to relief, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion.

So we have a blatant misrepresentation of a basic fact of the 2000 election, smack dab on the paper’s front page.

Business as usual.

37 Comments

  1. And this, along with many other excellent examples of media bias, will reverberate in our echo chamber for a few days and then disappear.

    There needs to be a well-funded broadly-based movement to attack this bias in every possible venue on a continuous basis until the sheeple wake up. I’m not nearly smart enough to know how to make that happen but I am certainly willing to help with time and money. Any suggestions?

    Comment by Old Coot (1ee5b7) — 11/1/2008 @ 8:32 am

  2. Perpetuating false leftist narratives one day at a time!

    Full meme ahead!

    Comment by daleyrocks (83b6c5) — 11/1/2008 @ 8:35 am

  3. Patterico, speaking of the LA Times, I think you have been going much too easy on them about the video. You’ve virtually LET THEM OFF THE HOOK.

    Why can’t they provide a transcript of the video, plus a description of what happened? That could not possibly jeopardize the source. Why else would the source have given the video to the Times unless the source wanted the Times to describe what happened?

    Comment by Andrew (3b0903) — 11/1/2008 @ 8:36 am

  4. Which is precisely why I’m no longer a subscriber.

    Comment by BeachBumBill (f095c1) — 11/1/2008 @ 8:36 am

  5. You mean Gore was never President? Are you sure?

    Comment by Official Internet Data Office (184273) — 11/1/2008 @ 8:38 am

  6. Even saying Harris determined the winner isn’t particularly accurate. That job was left to Congress, though I can’t imagine how much worse the situation would have been if the political situation were reversed and the Democrats in a position to declare Gore the winner after all.

    Comment by Soronel Haetir (644722) — 11/1/2008 @ 8:43 am

  7. I thought at the time that the second USSC decision was a mistake. They had a 7 to 2 decision on the question of the Florida SC changing the rules. They should have stopped there. The 5 to 4 decision to stop the recount led to all this hysteria. I know the intent was to avoid months of turmoil but we’ve had years of turmoil.

    The Times deserves everything it gets from the newspaper circulation collapse. I sent an e-mail to one Times writer about a piece I’d seen on the net edition. I got a reply that readership was up, not down, although “it is difficult to get revenue from net views of the site.” Still clueless. I unsubscribed years ago and mostly look at the Sports section during football season.

    Comment by Mike K (2cf494) — 11/1/2008 @ 8:46 am

  8. What’s mildly amusing is that eight years later my local Moonbats are still screeching about algore’s loss. algore and the missus are out there campaigning now for the messiah and still bring up the 2000 we-wuz-robbed BS.

    Never checked to see whatever became of those on several lower Fla. appellate courts who were liberal judges deciding that algore’s recount case was bogus. The liberal designer of that butterfly ballot was ostrasized and we hear little about her since she became a vanished dem.

    How many very liberal rags did recount and after recount of Fla. ballots for the whole state and kept finding Bush won? How many gave up on the long lines in the Panhandle because the network “news” proclaimed Gore the winner with polls still opened? How many military ballots were disallowed? What kinds of stunt will Obama’s armies of shyster lawyers pull this election day and beyond? Would we say that Ohio’s government is neutral and not kissing ACORN ass? How about the efforts there to illegally investigate Joe the Plumber and violate his privacy. Malkin asks what will the media say about O illegal alien/illegal campaign contributing auntie’s right to privacy after having no doubts about right to attack Joe The Plumber’s past and Palin family? Todd Palin’s DUI many years ago or McCain’s infidelity decades ago are something we need to know in great detail but O’s junkie and ho past gets a pass?
    Given the way that the Obama campaign readily deceives, inveigles and obfuscates at every turn, how clueless must one be to think that an Obama DOJ wouldn’t be far worse than the notorious Clinton administration was (FBI files, etc.)?
    Whatever it takes to win. Even the masses of real and imaginary monkey boy hugo chavez’s voters could not tilt the election to make him president of Venezuela for life.

    Comment by madmax333 (0c6cfc) — 11/1/2008 @ 8:48 am

  9. Ask 100 democrats (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN viewers) how GWB won the election and 99 will say the SCOTUS made him president. That’s what an elitest education does for you. The truth and the ability to process the truth died in the democrat party when Truman died.

    Comment by Scrapiron (ce69ff) — 11/1/2008 @ 8:59 am

  10. Maybe “dog trainer” is too lofty of a designation for this rag . . .

    Comment by Icy Truth (84d054) — 11/1/2008 @ 9:51 am

  11. They should change the masthead.

    Managing-Editor Emeritus, Joseph Goebbels

    Serving a new lie everyday, along with the old lies so you won’t forget!

    Comment by Another Drew (7e8922) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:15 am

  12. See, you simpletons just don’t understand. The Dems are nuanced.

    Comment by Alta Bob (408027) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:17 am

  13. I will never forget that infamous election day in 2000. I was working part time and at about noon that day I started seeing things on the internet about elderly voters reporting they were getting calls from anonymous sources asking them if they were sure they had voted for the right person because the so-called “butterfly ballot” had Pat Robertson’s name next across from Al Gore’s and maybe if they meant to vote for Gore, they really voted for Robertson instead. It later came out that these callers were from a telemarketing firm hired by the Democrats. And, of course, the rest is history. The Supreme Court did the right thing to stop the ridiculous “recount” that was going on with everyone making up their own rules as they went along. This coming Tuesday is going to be very interesting.

    Comment by jwarner (0a2a75) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:17 am

  14. Oh silly…silly….wasn’t there a very powerful Republican governor in FLorida at the time? What’s his name….

    And and….wasn’t there some sort of impropriety on Harris’ part in regard to certain voters wrongly purged from the voting records…and…and wasn’t she also complete partisan and unethical (some would say treasonous or criminal) in her handling of it…and weren’t a goodly chuck of the individuals nominated to SCOTUS there by the good grace of a certain person’s FATHER who was president between ’88 and ’92?

    And and….isn’t the ultimate authority vested in SCOTUS and therefore the ultimate responsibility?

    Now off to bed with you…

    *Losing patience with the children. Needs a stiff drink.

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:19 am

  15. Anyone who can argue the definition of “is” with a dead serious look on their face must be nuanced.

    Comment by Icy Truth (84d054) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:20 am

  16. goodly chuck

    – Is that like having a goodly chunk of Chuck Norris’s foot up your ass?

    Comment by Icy Truth (84d054) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:23 am

  17. jwwarner #13: Wasn’t it actually Pat Buchanan? This is the first I’ve heard about a telemarketing firm alerting folks to their possible mistake. (By the way, it was a Democrat who designed the ballot.)

    Comment by Ira (28a423) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:24 am

  18. Comment by Peter — 11/1/2008 @ 10:19 am

    Wrong again, on all counts.
    But, that’s only what we’ve come to expect from you.

    Comment by Another Drew (7e8922) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:25 am

  19. Comment by Ira — 11/1/2008 @ 10:24 am

    Yes, it was Buchanan.
    But, one Pat looks like another.

    Comment by Another Drew (7e8922) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:27 am

  20. and another thing…
    The fact that the Dems conveniently overlook, in both FL-00, and OH-04,
    is that the counties that had voting controversies in both instances,
    had Election Boards controlled by Democrats,
    duly elected to these partisan offices by their constituents who were obviously not qualified to board a bus,
    let alone vote.

    Comment by Another Drew (7e8922) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:30 am

  21. #13 Ira: I apologize – you’re right it was Buchanan. But Another Drew is right, see one Pat, you’ve seen ‘em all.

    Comment by jwarner (0a2a75) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:31 am

  22. Isn’t it funny how Peter’s response to Patterico’s post on how The LATe L.A. Times erroneously claimed that the SCOTUS “determined” the outcome of the 2000 election — [pause for breath] — was to erroneously claim that the SCOTUS, apparently in collusion with Jeb & Harris (maybe the Backstreet Boys’s crooked manager was in on it as well), “determined” the outcome?

    Here is a one-act play that hopefully will illustrate this phenomenon:

    Dramatis Personae
    Patterico – Crusading prosecutor for the people, blogger extraordinaire
    Peter – Owns a pot-smoking dog named Brian, thinks his name is a euphemism

    Act One, Scene One
    [Setting: A comfy chair inside The Pontifications]

    Patterico (slapping an accusatory finger against a copy of The LA Dog Trainer): Well, there they go again! Now they’re saying that the Supreme Court decided the outcome of the 2000 election. The Supreme Court! Can you believe this tripe?!

    Peter: Yeah. ‘Cause if a member of the hallowed media wrote it down, it must be true.

    CURTAIN

    Comment by Icy Truth (84d054) — 11/1/2008 @ 10:53 am

  23. I’d rather not live 8 years in the past, but a recount was certainly called for if only 500 votes separated the two candidates.

    Comment by truthnjustice (d99227) — 11/1/2008 @ 11:03 am

  24. Dios Mios! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_election_recount Who is it that disallowed a recount? No one, you say?

    Comment by Icy Truth (84d054) — 11/1/2008 @ 11:08 am

  25. What’s that? There WAS a recount? And there was no effort made to prevent a recount? And nobody is saying that there should not have been a recount?

    Verrrrrry interesting

    Comment by Icy Truth (84d054) — 11/1/2008 @ 11:10 am

  26. what a frackin jackass. algore wanted a subjective recount ONLY in certain dem-controlled counties that could ponder hanging chads, voter intent and so on. They should have taken a page from the later shenanigans of King co. Washington and “discovered” more boxes of votes which had been initially “mislaid”.

    And all those far left rags like the NY tImes did do total recounts that showed Bush would have won even in various hypothetical situations. Gore wanted to keep on counting selectively until he had the lead and could then stop the counting and declare himself the winner, but blockheads like tnj have to spin furiously as usual.
    Guess stupid Fla. voters didn’t buy THAT much into algore supporter we-wuz-robbed theories if W resoundly whipped Lurch in ’04. So much for revenge.

    Comment by madmax333 (0c6cfc) — 11/1/2008 @ 11:15 am

  27. #23, of course there needed to be a recount. But it should have been one in which everyone was playing by the same rules. Do we count dimpled chads or not count dimpled chads? Do we count pregnant chads? How about hanging chads? And if you’ll recall, 3 or 4 major media conducted their own recount after the fact and confirmed that Bush had won.

    Comment by jwarner (0a2a75) — 11/1/2008 @ 11:15 am

  28. To Peter and his friends : I worked my first election in 1948 – I was a “runner” for the local Democratic club. Since then, I have done just about every behind the scenes political job that a “worker bee” could do.

    First as a “machine” Democrat with one of Boss Buckley’s clubs, then as a Republican. In my last active campaign, I served on the New York State Republican’s Lawyers Committee.

    I have given advice and information on New York State Election Law to political candidates and other lawyers and, prior to 2000, was familiar with Florida’s Election Law, particulary the changes made in 1998.

    If there was the slightest truth in your statement that Kathleen Harris wrongly removed voters from the election rolls, Al Core, the Democratic party, Jessie Jackson and other African American leaders would, under the Voting Rights Act, have brought charges.

    The facts are the local county election officials, following the guidelines in the Florida Election Law (which are the same as the guidelines in every other state – this issue has been many times in the courts from about 1850 to the late 1940′s) properly removed those who failed to respond to at least two seperate registered mailings informing them that their
    status as a legal voter was being questioned.

    It must be noted that, in the counties where the majority of “disenfranchised” voters resided, the local election officials were Democrats.

    It is an exercise in ignorance for someone, with any pretense of knowledge, to claim that the disenrollment proceedure was illegal.

    Comment by longwalker (ce69ff) — 11/1/2008 @ 11:44 am

  29. It is an exercise in ignorance for someone, with any pretense of knowledge, to claim that the disenrollment proceedure was illegal.

    But, longwalker, without doing what they do, what would they have to do?

    I ran that sentance of yours through the “politicizer” machine, and a card came out:
    DEMOCRAT!

    Comment by Another Drew (7e8922) — 11/1/2008 @ 11:55 am

  30. Dem motto: When in doubt bring in the trial lawyers . . . oh wait, that’s us!

    Comment by Icy Truth (84d054) — 11/1/2008 @ 11:58 am

  31. truthinjustice : Florida Election Law, last revised in 1998 prior to the election of 2000, required a recount. That recount was properly made in every county on election night.

    After the first count, if the margin of victory was less than a certain percentage, there was, under Florida Elecion Law, a mandatory recount.

    The votes reported that Wednesday morning were the votes of the mandatory recount not the first count. There was no authority, under Florida Election Law for any further recount.

    That is why, when the Democratic Circuit Court Judge found against Gore and his claim that the chads in the “voting machines” stuck together and caused “pregnant” ballots, the Florida Supreme Court had to forget their oath of office and Florida Law, in order to steal the election for Al Gore.

    That, in turn, led to the United States Supreme Court (all nine Justices in agreement)to order the recount stopped until the Florida Supreme Court could show its authority. The old Common Law writ “Quo Warranto” was applicable in this case. The writ was issued when an official had overstepped his authority and enroached on the authority of another official or, even worse, the royal privlege.

    In which case, the offending official would be treated in a manner simular to that of William Wallace.

    Comment by longwalker (ce69ff) — 11/1/2008 @ 12:02 pm

  32. The state district court got it right. Gore as the plaintiff had the burden of proof to provide evidence that would put the election in doubt. Gore’s team only put on one witness who did not provide any evidence to put the election in doubt. I am not saying that the was no substantial evidence that would have put the election in doubt and substantial and valid legal reasoning that would put the election in doubt. There may have been substantial evidence. Gore’s team simply did not enter any of the evidence as part of the single witnesses testimony during the critical evidentiary phase of the trial.

    Comment by Joe - Dallas (d7c430) — 11/1/2008 @ 12:24 pm

  33. Joe – Dallas : I watched the whole Circuit Court trial. It was a “busman’s holiday” for me. I was home on vacation from my position as an Administrative Law Judge.

    There never was any substantial evidence that would put the election in doubt. That was Gore’s problem. There was absolutely no evidence that the Gore lawyers could produce to show the need, under Florida Law, for a hand recount.

    Contrary to popular belief, the 2000 Florida election had no more nor less “voter errors” than any other state. The difference was that the normal inconsistencies caused by the acts of individual voters (“voting errors”) were widely reported as if they had never happened before.

    All the “horrors” reported by the media have occurred in every state and in every election that I have worker or studied. Overvoting, undervoting, filing untouched ballots, etc. are everyday occurrences every election. There exists about three to five percent of voters who just won’t follow instructions.

    The best that we can hope for is that they will not damage the machines. Most, if not all, machine breakdowns in New York state are the result of individuals trying to force the voting machine to act in a manner that it is not designed to do. Few, if any, breakdowns are the deliberate acts of political sabotage.

    Comment by longwalker (ce69ff) — 11/1/2008 @ 12:51 pm

  34. I can’t believe that Peter is begging for yet another drubbing.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 11/1/2008 @ 1:36 pm

  35. Here we are, this week 75 mendacious, fabricating, dishonest spinners in the LAT newsroom got their pink slips.

    660 lying, spinning, non-reporting press-agent wannabees still to go.

    Do your bit. Buy and sell through craigslist, tell your car dealer you found him on the Internet and “don’t waste your money on the Times any more” and soon he too will stop wasting his. Put a stake in the heart of this inhuman thing.

    Comment by Kevin R.C. O'Brien (88bf29) — 11/1/2008 @ 2:34 pm

  36. To add a small point to the very learned discussion of FL election law and the actual events of 2000 provided by commenters above ….

    Even the FL requirement for a manual recount when results are within a certain parameter is extremely dubious. Why? Because the only thing that needs to be checked in a system like FL’s is the proper operation of the counting machines. If they’re functioning properly, then there’s no significant chance that the outcome they report is incorrect.

    That …. uh … is actually the ENTIRE reason that system is used. Machine counting, with properly functioning machines, is much more accurat than manual counting. Kind of obvious on common sense grounds, but empirical evidence and statistical theory are conclusive on the matter.

    So it was no surprise that the subsequent FL ballot examinations by consortia of major newspapers and accounting firms came up with results essentially identical to the first machine count (and manual recount) of the FL voting. Common sense and statistics allow for no other outcome.

    I clearly recall having to explain the basics of all this, at the time, to a friend and college roomate who was hysterical (and anti-Bush, natch). He couldn’t reject the reasoning, yet couldn’t accept the reality it pointed to, either.

    Sort of a microcosm of the last 8 years, on so many matters.

    As for this year, while longwalker above correctly points out that the blemishes in FL (and NM and elsewhere) that received attenion in 2000 are actually pretty average, I’d say prima facie evidence suggests that we are moving into a period where the integrity of the election process is actually in danger of being compromised. The sort of systematic and mass fraudulent activity being investigated by the FBI is NOT typical. The indifference to this incredibly development by the media and the campaign which stands to benefit is astonishing and very troubling, yet unsurprising, in a post-9/11 sort of way.

    Comment by IceCold (0daf76) — 11/1/2008 @ 5:52 pm

  37. IceCold : Nice comment. However, systematic, mass fraudulent voter activity has been very common over the years. However, these activities have not received much media attention.

    For example, in the last mayor’s election in Miami prior to the 2000 election, there were over 3000 court-proven instances of voter fraud on behalf of the winning candidate. The winning candidate had won by only 2000 votes so he was removed from office and the runner-up seated.

    However, in most cases, the voter fraud, although massive, does not effect the final outcome. Check out Bob Dornan’s last two Congressional races. Although there was mass, provable voter fraud on the behalf of the Democratic candidates, the population demographics had shifted so there were enough legal Democratic votes for a Democratic victory.

    Dirty little secret : As voter fraud is a constant in every election but, in most cases does not effect the outcome, the usual procedure is to count the fraudulent votes.

    Why? The procedure to disallow these votes requires the use of the courts and Judges and District Attorneys have limited time and resources. Thus, unless the outcome could be effected, the general rule is to count the fraudulent ballots. Also, voter fraud cases are not exciting. In fact, except for those involved, little attention is paid to voter fraud cases. The results are seldom considered as front-page news by the media but, as old news about a past election, are used as “fillers.”

    Comment by longwalker (dda662) — 11/2/2008 @ 4:13 am

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