The US press reacted with caution Saturday to the decision of the Supreme Court to enter into the legal fray over presidential election vote recounts in Florida.
"We have to hope and believe that the Supreme Court will provide some principled guidance that might lend stature to the process," said the Washington Post.
"There are dangers for the court in such a case," the editorial warned. "The conduct of elections is presumptively a state matter in which federal courts hesitate to intervene. Moreover, courts are rightly shy of injecting themselves into pitched political battles."
The New York Times questioned the necessity of the nation's ultimate arbiter of stepping into the recount controversy.
"We have been doubtful that as a matter of law the Florida elections presented constitutional issues that required the US Supreme Court to take the case after the rulings from the Florida Supreme Court."
However, the paper conceded, "there could be a civic value in letting the nation's highest court decide the case.
"With its decision the court ... has perhaps set the stage for a clarifying conclusion," to the drawn-out fight for votes in the southeastern state.
The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear an appeal by Republican candidate George W. Bush who seeks to block hand recounts in the state which are slowly chipping away at the slender lead he holds over his rival, Democrat Al Gore.
Gore is hoping that recounts in three counties in South Florida -- Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach -- will whittle away Bush's lead and confirm him as the winner of the November 7 presidential election.
Whoever finally emerges from the legal morass, as the winner will get all of Florida's 25 Electoral College votes, giving him more than the 270 required to win the White House.
Both sides have vowed to fight in the courts past Sunday's scheduled official certification of the state's election results -- WASHINGTON (AFP)
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