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The Florida Recount: Official Petitions State Supreme Court to Take Over All Legal Matters in Presidential BattleAired November 15, 2000 - 8:35 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: The secretary of state of Florida, also a Bush campaign co-chair, Katherine Harris, has now petitioned Florida's highest court, Florida's Supreme Court, to take over all matters legal in this presidential battle. Katharine Harris, at the same time, has set a 2:00 p.m. deadline for any counties wanting a hand recount and turn in ballots after yesterday's 5:00 p.m. certification deadline, to write down why it is that they are turning in their ballots late, to justify that. Therefore, she still, in theory, might have the authority to decline any recount that is going on. At the same time, the counting has stopped in West Palm Beach in Palm Beach County.
To straighten out all of this, we bring in CNN's Bill Hemmer -- Bill.
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT I don't know if I can straighten it out, Carol. That's the problem.
LIN: Do you like the way I just gave it off to you? What's the significance?
HEMMER: That's nice. It's yours, Hemmer.
Here's what we're trying to figure out right now, Carol. We don't know the significance, basically. Attorneys for the state, a few of them are in right now. And just talking with them a short time ago, they're not quite sure what this matter means just yet. And even with Ken Gross, our political analyst that we talked with at the back of -- about 8:00 a.m. Eastern time, about 35 minutes ago, he, too, was a bit surprised by this and wasn't quite sure how things will fall in legally.
Now, there will be more attorneys in shortly here, about 9:00 a.m. Eastern time, about 20 minutes from now, so hopefully we can gather more direction as for what this latest measure does mean.
But, again, suffice to say, Katharine Harris is now asking the state supreme court to take over all legal matters here. Now, it's possible -- I want to stay away from speculation here, but it's possible this may be tied to those letters of discretion that are due later today at 2:00 Eastern, a bit more than five hours from now. The reason I say that is because Democrats yesterday in Tallahassee charged that Katharine Harris is a Republican and she cannot on her own decide what is justifiable for a recount to continue in certain parts of Florida. They're saying she's Republican, she cannot be partial on this matter. It's possible that this action may be tied to that, and possibly tied to more.
But I think it's very important to point out, Carol, throughout this entire matter here, we are -- and the trite sayings comes up once again about in unchartered waters. We're in the unprecedented land of the Constitution right now. And although that indeed is true, what we're seeing again is that the twists and turns in this case often take us in directions that we're not quite sure where we're headed either. Is it north or south or east or west?
We're going to continue to watch it, let you know what we find out here. But that's what we know down here in Tallahassee right now. And, again, you can expect the story to change again, Carol, at any moment.
LIN: So, Bill, what should be the very next thing we look for? There is a court hearing at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. Is that right?
HEMMER: Yes, that -- regarding the hand count, you're right. But as far as Tallahassee is concerned, Carol, and it's important to point out once again, 2:00 Eastern time is when the counties that want to continue a recount have to file a letter with the secretary of state's office here in Tallahassee.
Now, to be clear, we do expect and anticipate Palm Beach will be one county that does file that letter. It's also likely, but, again, not done just yet, not completed just yet anyway, that Broward County may follow suit as a protective measure.
Here's what's happening in Broward County. Yesterday, the canvassing commission said there will be no recount here. Democrats took them to court and said, listen, though, local commission, you have to do a recount in the county.
Now, we don't have a definitive answer on what the law states about Broward County, but to be protective, it's likely Broward would follow suit and put a letter here in Tallahassee.
Now, with regard to Miami-Dade, last night they said they will not continue a recount. But if the Democrats in Tallahassee the Democrats here in Florida follow suit in Miami-Dade like they did in Broward yesterday, that Miami-Dade will be in a similar situation by midday here in Florida.
But, again, we don't know and it's important to stress that. What we're seeing right now is a continuing developing story that we have no idea what direction it may go next.
LIN: And that's half the fun of covering it. All right, thanks so much, Bill.
HEMMER: Fun Indeed, huh?
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