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Florida Supreme Court decision prompts flurry of filings

(CNN) -- In the hours after the Florida Supreme Court ordered a manual recount of disputed presidential ballots, lawyers seeking to block it filed at least four petitions in three different courts.

The Florida high court's decision, released Friday afternoon, revived Vice President Al Gore's presidential hopes by ordering a manual recount of at least 43,432 "undervotes" from as many as 62 counties. But before the day ended, the following steps were taken in an effort to prevent the recount:

•  Attorneys for Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush first filed a petition asking the Florida Supreme Court to stay its order until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to hear an appeal that Bush plans to file.

•  The Bush lawyers next asked the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia, for an emergency re-hearing on its request for an injunction to bar any manual counts of the Florida presidential ballots. That court rejected Bush's earlier request on Wednesday in a decision. The court said the Texas governor had not shown he would suffer "irreparable harm" as a result of the hand counts.

•  An attorney representing three Republican voters in Brevard County, Florida, also filed an emergency petition with the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to block any hand count of Florida presidential votes until the nation's highest court decides whether to hear its case.

•  Finally, the Bush attorneys filed an "emergency application for a stay of enforcement" asking U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to halt any vote recounts in Florida until after Bush files an appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to hear it.

Justice Kennedy has the authority to grant or deny a stay at any time. But he is likely to canvass the court's other eight justices before taking action.

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Saturday, December 9, 2000


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