February 05, 2005
No to SCotUS

There has been talk (on Sound Politics and on other local blogs) about a possible challenge of the results of the Washington gubernatorial race all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. I have a few thoughts on the matter.

Taking this case to the US Supreme Court is a bad idea. It's likely that they would decline to hear the case, because this case involves only the voters of Washington state, in a statewide (not national) contest. Unlike the Bush vs. Gore debacle of 2000, the outcome of this race does not impact the rest of the country in any way, and SCotUS is likely to decide that they don't have jurisdiction. (If Bush vs. Gore had been a state-level race, rather than federal, I believe they would not have interceded, despite the clearly illegal tactics being employed by the Dems and their SCoFla enablers.)

This case should go no higher than the Washington State Supreme Court; if the proper remedy is not forthcoming, the voters of the state need to be reminded, ad infinitum, of which party supports voting rights for the dead (this isn't Chicago or Miami), the criminals (felons who have not had their voting rights restored), the non-citizens (voting rights are one of the strongest incentives for pursuing citizenship), the dissociative (people who voted more than once) and the imaginary (ballots without voters). It won't matter to the extreme leftists in Seattle and on the university campuses, but it might resonate in the rest of the state. Remember the 1994 elections, in which Washington's congressional delegation went from 8 Dems and 1 Republican to 7 Republicans and 2 Dems. Voter anger can be an awesome thing, if properly channeled. The Washington Republican Party will need to nurture and harness this anger in 1996 and beyond.

posted on February 05, 2005 12:01 PM


It's an open question whether the feds could step in; voting is a US right, so that suggests up front that the federal government has jurisdiction.

Plus, Bush v Gore was a bizarre and whacked-out decision, and is probably capable of sustaining a challenge to jurisdiction.

Given how quickly the GOP broke out the lawyers in the 2000 Florida debacle, I'm pretty surprised they haven't been as agressive in Washington.

posted by jpe on February 10, 2005 01:13 PM

Actually, the court specifically stated that Bush v Gore could not be used as a precedent (It stated that the findings were limited to the one case), so any of the cases since then that have cited it as a precedent have done so in error.

As to the slap against the GOP re: the 2000 election, it was the Democrats who mobilized their army of lawyers first. Bush filed the first lawsuit because of the uneven and capricious standards used for counting ballots in Palm Beach and Broward counties. They probably could have done the same thing again here but I believe they chose not to do so because of the PR boost it would have provided the Democratic Party, who surely would have used it as ammunition.

I can't disagree with your first point, but I'm still not sure that the court would agree with that line of argument. It's one of those questions that will likely remain hypothetical, however.

posted by timekeeper on February 10, 2005 10:04 PM

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