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Special Event

Florida House Minority Leader Objects to Recommendation for Special Session

Aired November 30, 2000 - 1:12 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: And now this legislative committee, a possible recommendation for a special session is being addressed by the minority leader of the Florida House, Lois Frankel in Tallahassee. Let's listen to what she has to say about all of this.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

LOIS FRANKEL (D), FLORIDA STATE HOUSE: ... to campaign for the candidate of their choice, that we should not be using our institution and our government to further one presidential candidate. And it became clear today to us, finally, what we have been saying all along that this select committee has been part of a big show that our governor, Jeb Bush, has been the director, and he's finally stepped out in front of the curtains. It's quite clear that this has been an orchestrated effort on behalf of the George Bush campaign.

And I would continue to call on my Republican colleagues to show some reason and to step back, and to let the will of the people, the six million people who went to the polls on November 7th, to let all those votes be counted accurately so that we could see who really won this presidential election in Florida.

Thank you very much.

WATERS: That is Lois Frankel reacting to the select committee in Florida possibly moving for a special session to choose Florida's electors in the presidential campaign. Lois Frankel, the minority leader in the Florida House, objecting. As you heard her say, it is clear this is all being orchestrated by the Bush campaign, and that Jeb Bush is the conductor here.

Let's call upon our legal analyst, Greta Van Susteren, and here is where we would require one of those yellow and black books, "Legal Arguments for Dummies," but I know you can break it down in simple form for me.

But first, let me say that the legal team representing Democrat Al Gore filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today saying that the U.S. Constitution could prohibit the state legislature from coming up with its own slate of electors. That's what we are talking about, now tell us about these legal arguments, and is it possible for the U.S. Supreme Court to trump the legislators down there in Florida? GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think, Lou, most people would agree that the United States Supreme Court trumps everybody. It's a question of what they will get involved in, to begin with; and secondly, it's a question of how they interpret the Constitution and the federal statutes.

At the moment, we have the most complicated convoluted mess on our hands. We have got matters in county courts, in Florida Supreme Court, we're now in the Florida Legislature and we have got a matter in the Supreme Court. And you almost have to be a great chess player to sort of predict way out in advance how everyone's different move and different decision will effect the other.

At this point, it seems very unpredictable. Obviously, the Gore campaign are concerned about the Florida Legislature, and what it does. It does have a constitutional mandate to determine the manner of how you choose the electors. So they are up against that aspect of it. But they also have the very strong argument that it may disenfranchise voters, especially at a time when it really isn't right.

I mean, December 12th may be the drop dead date, and if Florida can sort out its voting problems by December 12th -- I don't know if that is practical or realistic -- it may be that anything that the legislature would do in Florida might have the effect to disenfranchise. So bottom line is: What a mess!

WATERS: Is it possible that the Florida Legislature could choose 25 electors, presumably for George W. Bush, and that Gore wins the legal arguments, gets a recount, turns out to be the winner, and the will of the people chooses 25 Democratic electors. They both end up in Washington. Is there such a thing as competing slates of electors here? Is that a scenario that could be complicated?

VAN SUSTEREN; Well, I think that's where we need our Bill Schneider and Jeff Greenfield, and not our legal analyst to sort that one out. I hope there isn't that message, It sounds sort of like -- almost like a bad situation in a hockey game, where they are fighting over the puck.

I have no idea whether we could get to that. Presumably, at some point, we are going to get some guidance from somebody. The Supreme Court will, perhaps, gives us some guidance tomorrow on a sort of a remote and lesser important issue. But sort of, you know, the big picture issue, it certainly would be nice if the United States Supreme Court had a way to fashion a process, a remedy, to be fair; or maybe we could even get lucky and we could get a statesman or a stateswoman from either party to sit down and figure out how to resolve it, not what the resolution is going to be, but a framework from which we could work that is consistent with the Constitution, the law, and just a fundamental sense of fairness.

WATERS: OK, Greta, it's a dizzying set of developments and we appreciate you hanging close so we can turn to you at any point in time and ask you what the heck is going on, Greta.

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