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Election 2000: U.S. Supreme Court Ruling May Leave Lasting Mark on Court Itself

Aired December 13, 2000 - 12:18 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

FRANK SESNO. CNN ANCHOR: Now to the steps of the Supreme Court itself. For more on last night's opinion, an opinion that has completely altered the dynamic of this unprecedented political confrontation. CNN's senior Washington correspondent Charles Bierbauer is at the court, as he has been so much these last several weeks -- Charles.

CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Frank. when the U.S. Supreme Court, in its ruling last night, put forth these words: "There is no recount procedure in place under the state supreme court's order that comports with minimal constitutional standards" it created an almost insurmountable obstacle for the present, but it also laid down a marker for the future. It described how vote counts should be done, not only in Florida, but essentially across the country.

It called for the equal protection clause of the Constitution to be met with uniform standards, and what it described as orderly judicial review.

But, also, a lot of attention is being called to the way this court was divided, a 5-4 split, along the same lines that initially stayed the recount down in Florida.

And a stinging dissent issued by Justice John Paul Stevens, which said, "The identity of the loser perfectly clear, it is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

Now, we talked with Professor Laurence Tribe, one of Vice President Gore's lawyer last night, who said that the dissents are always more apocalyptic. But the suggestion here is that the courts themselves have suffered. It will take some time to discern what the legal impact is. But it also will start to get people looking at what the Supreme Court of this country will be under a Bush administration, bearing in mind that many people in the course of the election said the future of the Supreme Court is in the hands of the voters as well.

Charles Bierbauer, CNN, reporting live from the Supreme Court.

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