US Press: Florida Court Decision is Fair, Gore and Bush Should Back off

Published November 22nd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Florida Supreme Court's decision to include vote recounts in the state's crucial tally in the US presidential election was fair and both White House rivals should now tone down their rhetoric, leading US dailies said Wednesday. 

"The right of citizens to have their votes counted was the overriding issue," said The New York Times. The ruling was "a legitimate exercise of judicial authority aimed at achieving equity in a tangled political and legal situation." 

The vote recount and Florida law establishing a deadline for the results "war with one another," The Washington Post said. "The court held, rightly in our view, that the recount is clearly the more important and should prevail." 

The Times agreed with the high court in allowing the counties to set their own standards for counting the ballots, saying that the "dimpled ballot should be allowed if ... it shows voter intent." 

The Post had hoped the court would have given more than just "limited guidelines" on the hand recount disputes, adding: "We have our own reservations about the dimpled ballots." 

But both dailies called on the campaigns of Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush to accept the deadline and end their quarrel. 

The Times was critical of Bush's top legal adviser and former secretary of state James Baker, who hinted a legal battle against what he considered was Florida's "judicial fiat." 

"Neither campaign should regard this constructive decision as a prelude to additional litigation," the Times said. 

In the post-election chaos, neither Bush nor Gore "have behaved in our judgment in a way that inspires confidence," said the Post. 

"The Supreme Court decision could be an opportunity -- maybe the last -- for both to call their people off, stand back and let the process come to an honorable conclusion that people can respect as fair," the Post concluded -- WASHINGTON (AFP)  



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