Millions of people will have a chance to witness American history in the making Monday, when television networks broadcast live coverage of the Florida Supreme Court hearing that could determine who is the next US president.
For two hours, viewers will be able to watch lawyers for candidate Al Gore and his rival George W. Bush trade legal blows, with the Democratic camp insisting vote recounts currently underway should be taken into account, and the Republicans saying the Bush lead of 930 votes in Florida stands.
The stakes are high: because the November 7 presidential election was so close, Florida will determine who will reside in the White House for the next four years.
Cable News Network (CNN) is already playing up the courtroom drama as a highlight of its ongoing coverage dubbed "Election 2000: Too close to call."
Only a few television cameras will be allowed inside the squat white court building, but the footage will be shared among all the networks.
Space for reporters is also limited and a lottery was held to determine 28 of them who will be assigned reserved seats for Monday's event, scheduled to start at 2 p.m. (1900 GMT.) Others will have to brave dropping temperatures, and probably more rain, if they hope to get a seat. Court officials said they expected the line for public gallery seats to start around 8 a.m. (1300 GMT.)
In addition, hordes of media representatives are likely to throng outside the courthouse hoping representatives for the two sides will make an appearance, including, in the Democratic camp, David Boies, the star lawyer who represented the government in the case against Microsoft.
For residents of Tallahassee, the capital Florida, the media circus has become the biggest attraction in town. A short walk from the capitol grounds to the court will afford them a possibility to watch some of America's most famous newscasters in action. With a little luck they might even witness the media at its worst: pushing, shoving, yelling, and mobbing any official handing out statements or court documents -- TALLAHASSEE (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)