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Democrats challenge Florida vote certification, Republicans head to federal court
TALLAHASSEE, Florida (CNN) -- Attorneys for the Democratic Party and Vice President Al Gore Thursday morning filed an emergency motion in Leon County state court challenging the certification of the results of the Florida presidential election.
The motion contends that Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris is in violation of a court order issued Tuesday by Judge Terry Lewis.
It asks Lewis to "compel" compliance by Harris.
Lewis, his clerk said, has a full calendar and was not expected to consider the motion until Thursday afternoon.
In the 9-page motion, they ask for an injunction to bar any final certification of the results in the election.
The Democrats want the court to stop Harris from issuing a final certification until hand recounts are complete and counted.
Harris said she will certify the vote count as of 5 p.m. Tuesday and pending the results of oversees absentee ballots. She said Wednesday manual recounts in four Florida counties were not justified and she would not accept the results.
The Democrats argue she is arbitrarily rejecting the results of those recounts in violation of a state court judge's order. They want an injunction barring the final certification of the Florida vote until hand recounts are completed and counted.
Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Georgia, Republicans were pressing ahead with a federal appeal seeking to stop all recounts in Florida. The GOP is arguing that the federal courts should get involved to protect voters under the 14th Amendment, providing due process.
Democrats argued the federal court should not interfere, that the matter is being handled under Florida law, and for the federal court to step in would be a violation of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution on separation of powers.
The court clerk said both Republicans and Democrats had filed their pleadings overnight and those arguments would now be distributed to the court.
The full 12-judge panel will consider the appeal, but no hearing has yet been set.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is made up of Democrat and Republican judges with ties to both Gore and Bush camps. Seven of the 12 judges are Republicans and five are Democrats.
Of the seven Republicans, four were appointed by President Bush, the father of Republican candidate George W. Bush.
Four of the judges were appointed by President Bill Clinton, whose vice president is Al Gore.
Five of the judges -- two Republicans and three Democrats -- live in Florida.
The federal judiciary claims to be above politics, but because of their political connections and life-time appointments, many in the legal community consider that a fiction.
CNN Correspondent Bob Franken contributed to this report.
Florida Supreme Court asked to wade into presidential contest
Florida State Courts
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