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The Florida Recount: Americans Will Have to Hold Their Breath for Supreme Court's Decision

Aired November 21, 2000 - 2:08 p.m. ET

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

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Now back to our other big story of the day, the presidential election. Two weeks ago today we thought we would have a president by the end of the night -- so we thought. If the fight over Florida has caused you to mutter a four-letter word or two, wait, here's another: "wait."

CNN's Mike Boettcher is waiting still in Tallahassee for the state Supreme Court there to rule.

Mike, what's going on?

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie in this latest edition of decision 2000, Florida Supreme Court style, we are still waiting, as you say. The vote of seven men and women on the Florida Supreme Court could decide what happens to the vote of 6 million Floridians who cast their ballot in the presidential election.

Now, earlier today, Craig Waters, who is the Supreme Court spokesman, emerged from the chambers to say, no word on when a verdict is coming down -- today, tomorrow or next week. He couldn't tell us that because the justices are still deliberating, but he was able to give us some insight on how the court works and what it will take to get a decision. Here is Craig Waters:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG WATERS, FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: As I've told you before, Florida's Constitution requires that at least four justices must agree before the court can take any action whatsoever; so they have to reach, at least, that threshold. Then, after the opinion is finalized and any dissenting and concurring opinions are also added, the chief justice will authorize the release at a certain time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOETTCHER: For at least part of the day the Supreme Court justice -- Chief Justice Charles Wells could not be part of those deliberations because he had another very important function to take care of. He was swearing in new state representatives and senators at the state capitol here in Tallahassee. That ceremony continued on for about an hour-hour and a half.

And also, during that ceremony, Secretary of State Katherine Harris showed up and she was given a standing ovation by members of both chambers. She sat in the front row in the Senate and the House during the swearing-in ceremony and -- as well she, again, has received flowers that fill her office. So a lot of support here for her, at least from the Republican side of the aisle.

Back here at the Supreme Court, well, we continue to wait. Still no word, but we are told that the marshal, when there is a decision, will come out 30 minutes before it is read and then Craig Waters will step out and read it. Again, we don't have any idea what time or even what day.

Mike Boettcher, CNN live, Tallahassee.

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