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CNN Today

Election 2000: Supreme Court Expected to Rule Today

Aired December 12, 2000 - 1:00 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, if you are counting, we're now five weeks post -- from the post-presidential election, the so-called safe harbor date for states to certify their presidential electors, and the final outcome is as unclear as ever. Clarity could come in dramatic fashion at, literally, any moment from the highest court in the land.

And that's where we begin this hour, with CNN's Bob Franken at the Supreme Court of the United States.

Got anything there -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nothing new, but I can tell you that every news organization's reporter is in his starting blocks waiting for the opinions to get passed out, and of course, come and reported to the world.

This time yesterday, we were listening to the arguments on audiotape, arguments that pretty much demonstrated the two sides' positions on this, the Bush campaign saying that the Florida state Supreme Court was incorrect and that that recount that was ordered should be stopped. If the justices agree with that, that is widely believed that that would end this election confusion and that George W. Bush would win the presidency, because he would be declared the winner in Florida. That is the assumption.

If the Gore campaign lawyers, however, prevail, then the recount would go on, and the uncertainty would continue. There's quite a bit of speculation, based on what the justices were asking during their arguments yesterday, that they might be pondering ordering some variation of a recount themselves, which -- with rules that they believe would see to it that every Florida citizen was treated equally.

The argument that the Bush campaign has made is that there is an unequal treatment of citizens, a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and the equal protection clause.

So that is what is -- laid it out. There is a strong belief that the ruling would probably come today. A couple of reasons for that: number one, the justices have gone on their break, and there's a feeling that they left behind their ruling -- and secondly, the safe harbor day that you discussed is upon us, and there would seem to be a reason for the justices to dispose of this, if they are going to dispose of it with a ruling for George W. Bush.

So that is the speculation. We're all on pins and needles because of the speculation. But thus far, that's where the justices have left us, on pins and needles.

ALLEN: Thank you, justices.

Time is of the essence there, Bob. Did anyone expect it to take 24 hours -- it's now been at least 24 hours since they heard the arguments?

FRANKEN: Well, remember -- well, remember we're talking lightning speed. The question is have they ever done that before, and the answer is yes, back in the '50s in the Rosenbergs spy trial, they acted very quickly the day after arguments. In the Little Rock school desegregation case, also back in the '50s, they acted that quickly. They've acted within a day after arguments, and this would be one that people would think that given time -- given the fact that time is so important -- and, also, given the fact that they're really quite familiar with this case now -- that quick action would be something that wouldn't surprise.

ALLEN: And they're not -- it's not their way to operate to give us a notice that there's going to be a ruling. They'll just hand it out, and you scurry about.

FRANKEN: Here's how the notice is given: Here are the opinions, that's the notice.

ALLEN: OK, well, have fun there outside, and we hope you have your running shoes on.

Bob Franken, we'll see you in a bit.

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