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Election 2000: U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Bush Recount Challenge Friday

Aired November 30, 2000 - 2:34 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: We will be keep our eye on those ballots tomorrow, but the bigger election drama tomorrow will be in the United States Supreme Court. The justices are set to hear a case brought by George W. Bush with CNN coverage to begun at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. There won't be any cameras in the courtroom.

Our senior Washington correspondent Charles Bierbauer will be there, with pen and paper. And soon after, we will be hearing an audio recording. How will this all go tomorrow -- Charles.

CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is an hour and a half of arguments, Lou, each side gets 45 minutes and they will divide them, the Bush camp will argue for 35 minutes, and then the state secretary, Miss Harris, her lawyer gets 10 minutes; and then it switches over, 10 minutes for the Florida attorney general, Mr. Butterworth's lawyers, and then on to Gore attorney, Laurence Tribe, for final of the total hour and a half.

After that, the justices will retreat behind those crimson curtains inside the courtroom and start to make their assessment of what they should do. They have been asked by the Bush camp to overturn the Florida State Supreme Court ruling that extended the manual vote count in several counties. They have also been asked by the Gore campaign to let that ruling stand and the final brief that we had in hand so far today came from Gore camp. It was delivered by Gore attorney Tom Goldstein.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM GOLDSTEIN, GORE CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: We have explained that the decision of the Florida Supreme Court is precisely within the bounds of what that court is supposed to do. It is about Florida law. It interprets Florida law and is the final arbiter of what Florida law is. We also address sort of what the state of play is in all of the litigation to advise the court, and what the implications of its decision would be.

Our view is that the court really has no need or basis for overturning the Florida Supreme Court's decision, and the contest should go forward, and be resolved as quickly as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BIERBAUER: And time is of the essence, of course, for the Gore campaign because they are trying to reverse the votes and get those courts in Florida to give them an extended count. The Supreme Court here -- I should say, Lou -- is mindful of the time frame, likely to respond quickly. They have been known to turn around opinions in a matter of days, and the betting is probably -- to the degree one bets on the Supreme Court -- we will see something next week -- Lou.

WATERS: Is there any way to know if that petition filed questioning the constitutionality of the Florida Legislature, considering choosing their own electors, is there any consideration of that brief going on, do you know?

BIERBAUER: The Gore petition, or the Gore brief, makes note of the possible action by the Florida Legislature. It says that it raises possible constitutional questions, and it's largely based on the assertion by the legislature that there is a stalemate and no electors have been chosen in Florida.

What the Gore brief says is: No, the electors have been chosen by the vote of November 7th, we just don't know what the result of that vote is yet. That's why they don't want the legislature to get involved.

They are not asking for specific action by this court with regard to the Florida Legislature, at least not a this point.

WATERS: All right, OK, Charles Bierbauer keeping watch at the United States Supreme Court.

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