No. 00-836 ========================================IN THE Supreme Court of the United States --------------------GEORGE W. BUSH, Petitioner, v. PALM BEACH COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD, et al., Respondents. --------------------On Writ Of Certiorari To The Supreme Court Of Florida--------------------BRIEF FOR PETITIONER --------------------MICHAEL A. CARVIN THEODORE B. OLSON COOPER, CARVIN & Counsel of Record ROSENTHAL, P.L.L.C. TERENCE P. ROSS 1500 K Street, N.W. DOUGLAS R. COX Suite 200 THOMAS G. HUNGAR Washington, D.C. 20005 MARK A. PERRY (202) 220-9600 GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER LLP 1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.BARRY RICHARD Washington, D.C. 20036 GREENBERG TRAURIG, P.A. (202) 955-8500 101 East College Avenue Post Office Drawer 1838 BENJAMIN L. GINSBERG Tallahassee, FL 32302 PATTON BOGGS LLP (850) 222-6891 2550 M Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20037 (202) 457-6000 [Additional counsel listed on inside front cover] Counsel for Petitioner ========================================GEORGE J. TERWILLIGER III JOHN F. MANNING TIMOTHY E. FLANIGAN 435 W. 116th Street MARCOS D. JIMÉNEZ New York, N.Y. 10027 WHITE & CASE LLP First Union Financial Center WILLIAM K. KELLEY 200 South Biscayne Blvd. Notre Dame Law School Miami, Florida 33131 Notre Dame, Indiana 46556(305) 371-2700 BRADFORD R. CLARK 2000 H Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20052
QUESTIONS PRESENTED1. Whether post-election judicial limitations on the discretion granted by the legislature to state executive officials to certify election results, and/or post-election judicially created standards for the determination of con- troversies concerning the appointment of presidential electors, violate the Due Process Clause or 3 U.S.C. § 5, which requires that a State resolve controversies relating to the appointment of electors under "laws enacted prior to" election day. 2. Whether the state court's decision, which cannot be reconciled with state statutes enacted before the elec- tion was held, is inconsistent with Article II, Section 1, clause 2 of the Constitution, which provides that electors shall be appointed by each State "in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct." 3. What would be the consequences of this Court's finding that the decision of the Supreme Court of Florida does not comply with 3 U.S.C. § 5?
PARTIES TO THE PROCEEDINGThe following individuals and entities are parties to the proceeding in the court below: Governor George W. Bush, as candidate for Presi- dent; Katherine Harris, as Secretary of State, State of Florida; Katherine Harris, Bob Crawford, and Laurence C. Roberts, as members of the Florida Elections Can- vassing Commission; Matt Butler; Palm Beach County Canvassing Board; Broward County Canvassing Board; Broward County Supervisor of Elections; Robert A. Butterworth, as Attorney General, State of Florida; Flor- ida Democratic Party; and Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., as candidate for President.
TABLE OF CONTENTSPage QUESTIONS PRESENTED...........................................i PARTIES TO THE PROCEEDING ...................................ii TABLE OF AUTHORITIES........................................ vi OPINIONS BELOW ...............................................1 JURISDICTION .................................................1 CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS AND STATUTES INVOLVED.............................................2 STATEMENT OF THE CASE.........................................2 I. The 2000 Presidential Election...........................3 A. The Election Laws Of Florida As Of November 7, 2000......................................3 B. The Presidential Election In Florida And The Tabulation Of Votes ..........................6 II. The Litigation At Issue .................................8 A. The Trial Court's Decisions ..........................8 B. Proceedings In The Florida Supreme Court ................................................9 III. Events Since The Petition Was Filed.....................11 SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT..........................................12 ARGUMENT.....................................................15 I. The Judgment Of The Florida Supreme Court Should Be Vacated Because It Does Not Comply With 3 U.S.C. § 5.......................17 A. State Court Determinations Regard- ing Controversies Over The Ap- pointment Of Presidential Electors Lack Conclusive Effect Unless They Implement Legal Rules Enacted Before The Election .................................17 B. The Decision Below Announces New Rules Of Law And Timetables To Govern Controversies And Con- tests Concerning Florida's Appoint- ment Of Presidential Electors .......................19 C. The Florida Supreme Court's Deci- sion Also Upsets The Policy Choice Made By Congress In 3 U.S.C. § 5.....................27 D. Because The Judgment Below Does Not Comply With 3 U.S.C. § 5, It Is Not Binding On Congress Or The Elections Canvassing Commission .....................29 II. The Florida Supreme Court's Decision Violates Article II Of The Constitution Of The United States....................................36 A. The Framers Vested The Authority To Determine The Manner For The Appointment Of Presidential Elec- tors In The State Legislatures ......................37 B. In The Absence Of Express Legisla- tive Direction, The State Executive And Judicial Branches Are Constitutionally Prohibited From Engrafting Material Changes Onto The Manner Of Appointing Presi- dential Electors ....................................40 C. The Florida Supreme Court Has Not Been Granted Authority To Determine The Manner Of Appoint- ing Presidential Electors............................43 D. As A Result Of Its Unconstitutional Arrogation Of Power, The Florida Supreme Court's Decision Is A Nul- lity ................................................48 CONCLUSION...................................................50
TABLE OF AUTHORITIESCASES Page(s) Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780 (1983) ......................................................16 Beckstrom v. Volusia County Canvassing Bd., 707 So. 2d 720, 725 (Fla. 1998).................... 32, 33 Black v. Cutter Labs., 351 U.S. 292 (1956) ...................2 Boardman v. Esteva, 323 So. 2d 259 (Fla. 1975)........................................................32 Bolden v. Potter, 452 So. 2d 564 (Fla. 1984)..................6 Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976)..........................17 Burroughs v. United States, 290 U.S. 534 (1934) ......................................................15 California v. Superior Court of California, 482 U.S. 400 (1987) .................................32, 49, 50 Carmell v. Texas, 120 S. Ct. 1620 (2000) ....................20 Caspari v. Bohlen, 510 U.S. 383 (1994).................. 20, 21 Chapman v. Goodnow's Adm'r, 123 U.S. 540 (1887)....................................................2 Chappell v. Martinez, 536 So. 2d 1007 (Fla. 1988)................................................... 22, 23 Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998) ......................................................36 Cousins v. Wigoda, 419 U.S. 477 (1975).......................16 Ex Parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371 (1879)........................49Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908)..........................49 Foster v. Love, 522 U.S. 67 (1997) ..........................36 Gunn v. Barry, 82 U.S. 610 (1872) ...........................49 Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920)..........................41 Lindsey v. Washington, 301 U.S. 397 (1937)...................20 Market Street Ry. Co. v. Railroad Comm'n, 324 U.S. 548 (1945) ..........................................2 Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816) ......................................................44 McClendon v. Slater, 554 P.2d 774 (Okla. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1096 (1977) ................................................. 40, 46 McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1 (1892)..................passim Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974).....................49 New Mexico ex re. Ortiz v. Read, 524 U.S. 151 (1998)...................................................32 Parsons v. Ryan, 60 P.2d 910 (Kan. 1936).....................46 Ray v. Blair, 343 U.S. 214 (1952) ...........................38 Reynoldsville Casket Co. v. Hyde, 514 U.S. 749 (1996)...................................................49 Roe v. Alabama, 43 F.3d 574 (11th Cir. 1995)........................................................28 Russello v. United States, 464 U.S. 16 (1984) ................................................. 42, 43 St. Martin Evangelical Lutheran Church v. South Dakota, 451 U.S. 772 (1981) ...........................44State ex rel. Beeson v. Marsh, 34 N.W.2d 279 (Neb. 1948) .............................................40 Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 523 U.S. 83 (1998)..............................49 Street v. New York, 394 U.S. 576 (1969).......................2 Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989)..................... 20, 21 U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779 (1995)...........................................39, 40, 43 United States v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437 (1965)..................26 United States v. Harris, 106 U.S. 629 (1883).................26 United States v. State of Florida, Civ. No.: TCA-80-1055 (N.D. Fla. Apr. 2, 1982) .........................6 Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23 (1968).......................16 Constitution & StatutesU.S. CONST. art. I, § 2, cl. 1 ..............................37 U.S. CONST. art. I, § 2, cl. 4 ..............................42 U.S. CONST. art. I, § 3, cl. 1 ..............................37 U.S. CONST. art. I, § 4, cl. 1 ..............................42 U.S. CONST. art. I, § 5, cl. 1 ..............................36 U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 16 .............................41 U.S. CONST. art. I, § 10, cl. 2 .............................41 U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1........................ 15, 16, 34, 37 U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 1..............................14 U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 2..............16, 25, 34, 35, 38 U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 4..............................15U.S. CONST. art. IV, § 2, cl. 2 ........................ 32, 42 U.S. CONST. art. IV, § 4 ....................................42 U.S. CONST. art. V...........................................42 U.S. CONST. art. VI, cl. 2 ..................................42 U.S. CONST. amend. XII ................................. 16, 37 U.S. CONST. amend. XVII......................................37 2 U.S.C. § 7 ................................................36 3 U.S.C. §§ 1-15 ....................................... 13, 17 3 U.S.C. § 2 ........................................... 34, 35 3 U.S.C. § 5 ............................................passim 3 U.S.C. § 6 ................................................30 3 U.S.C. § 7 ................................................25 3 U.S.C. § 15 .......................................... 20, 31 18 U.S.C. § 3182.............................................32 28 U.S.C. § 1257..............................................1 Fla. Stat. § 102.111........... 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 22, 23, 24, 44 Fla. Stat. § 102.111(1)...............................4, 44, 45 Fla. Stat. § 102.112.....................................passim Fla. Stat. § 102.112(1)....................... 4, 5, 22, 44, 45 Fla. Stat. § 102.121.........................................43 Fla. Stat. § 102.141..........................................4 Fla. Stat. § 102.141(4)....................................2, 5 Fla. Stat. § 102.166(1)-(3) ..................................5 Fla. Stat. § 102.166(4)(a)-(c)................................5 Fla. Stat. § 102.166(4)-(10)...............................5, 7 Fla. Stat. § 102.166(7)(a) ...................................5 Fla. Stat. § 102.166(7)(b).................................5, 7 Fla. Stat. § 102.168..................................... 6, 24 Fla. Stat. § 102.168(2).......................................6 Fla. Stat. § 102.168(3)-(8) ..................................6 Fla. Stat. § 102.168(5).......................................6 Fla. Stat. § 103.011..................................... 6, 43 Other Authorities Act of Feb. 3, 1887, ch. 90, § 2, 24 Stat. 373...............18 18 CONG. REC. 30 (Dec. 7, 1886)......................... 17, 18 18 CONG. REC. 47 (Dec. 8, 1886)......................18, 19, 27 2 The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 501 (Max Farrand, ed. 1966).............................38 BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY 890 (7th ed. 1999)........................................................26 Counting the Vote; Statements on the Certification of Florida's Votes, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 27, 2000.........................................12 David P. Currie, The Constitution in Congress (University of Chicago Press) 138..........................................................39 Senate Rep. 1st Sess. 43 Cong. No. 395 ......................40 The Federalist, No. 68 (Alexander Hamilton) (Clinton Rossiter ed., 1961)...............37, 38, 39
BRIEF FOR PETITIONEROn November 7, 2000, the Nation's quadrennial presidential election was conducted throughout the United States. The apparent results of the State-by-State returns indicate that the candidate who receives the Electoral College votes of Florida will, on December 18, 2000, receive a majority of the votes of the electors ap- pointed by the various States and will thereafter become the next President of the United States. On November 21, 2000, the Supreme Court of Flor- ida issued an equitable decree altering Florida's methods and timetables for the determination of controversies re- garding the appointment of presidential electors. That decree has interjected unwarranted but serious questions concerning the selection of Florida's presidential elec- tors that threaten to undermine and cloud the outcome of the election in that State. Because that equitable decree is inconsistent with federal law and the Constitution of the United States, petitioner respectfully prays that this Court vacate the judgment below.
OPINIONS BELOWThe opinion of the Supreme Court of Florida (Pet. App. 1a-38a) is not yet reported. The orders of the Cir- cuit Court for the County of Leon, Florida (Pet. App. 42a-43a & 44a-50a) are not reported.
JURISDICTIONThe judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida was entered on November 21, 2000. The petition for a writ of certiorari was filed on November 22, 2000 and granted on November 24, 2000. The jurisdiction of this Court rests upon 28 U.S.C. § 1257. The judgment below amounts to the entry of a per- manent injunction against state election officials and is therefore "final" for purposes of this Court's certiorari jurisdiction. Market Street Ry. Co. v. Railroad Comm'n, 324 U.S. 548, 551 (1945). Petitioner expressly raised below the federal questions on which the Court has granted certiorari. See Pet. 9-10. The Florida Supreme Court's failure to address petitioner's federal claims, and its assertion that "[n]either party has raised as an issue on appeal the constitutionality of Florida's election laws" (Pet. App. 10a n.10), are therefore no barrier to review by this Court. Street v. New York, 394 U.S. 576, 583 (1969); Black v. Cutter Labs., 351 U.S. 292, 298 (1956). State courts cannot evade this Court's review by failing to discuss federal questions. Chapman v. Good- now's Adm'r, 123 U.S. 540, 548 (1887).
CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS AND STATUTES INVOLVEDPursuant to this Court's Rule 24.1(f), the pertinent constitutional and statutory provisions are reproduced in the appendix to this brief.
STATEMENT OF THE CASEOn Tuesday, November 7, 2000, the citizens of the several States, including Florida, cast their votes for the electors for President and Vice President of the United States. The official initial count of the ballots cast in Florida showed that the Republican Party candidates, Governor George W. Bush and Secretary Dick Cheney, received more votes than their principal opponents in the election, Democratic Party candidates Vice President Albert Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman, subject to the counting of overseas absentee ballots. Because the margin of victory was less than one-half of one percent, however, a statewide recount commenced. See Fla. Stat. § 102.141(4). The statewide recount, and the tabulation of overseas absentee ballots on November 18, 2000, while reflecting slightly different tabulation totals, each confirmed that Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney re- ceived the most votes.On November 8, 2000, the Florida Democratic Party sought additional recounts by hand in four heavily popu- lated, predominantly Democratic counties. The Florida Supreme Court thereafter issued a decree extending by twelve days the seven day statutorily imposed deadline to submit certified vote tabulations including the results of these recounts. Pursuant to that extended deadline, on November 26, the totals were again tabulated, and Gov- ernor Bush and Secretary Cheney were again determined to have received the most votes. The Florida Elections Canvassing Commission proceeded on November 26, 2000, to certify them as the victorious candidates in the statewide presidential election. Those certified results include tabulations that reflect manual recounts that were conducted solely as a result of the Florida Supreme Court decision under review here. Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman have filed a lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Court to contest the certified election results. The Florida Supreme Court's decision, which conflicts with both federal stat- utes and the federal Constitution, will thus continue to affect, and has the theoretical potential to change, the outcome of the presidential election in Florida, and thus the Nation. Reversal by this Court would restore the legislatively crafted method for appointing electors in Florida to its status prior to November 7, would allow the completion of the proper selection of presidential electors in Florida according to the plan contemplated by the Constitution, and would aid in bringing legal fi- nality to this election. I. The 2000 Presidential Election A. The Election Laws Of Florida As Of No- vember 7, 2000 Prior to November 7, 2000, pursuant to the authority conferred on it by Article II of the Constitution and 3 U.S.C. § 5, the Florida legislature had enacted a com- prehensive and carefully interwoven statutory plan andset of procedures and timetables to govern the appoint- ment of presidential electors, the conduct of elections, and the bringing and resolution of controversies and contests related thereto. On the first Tuesday after the first Monday in No- vember during a presidential election year, Florida holds an election in each of its sixty-seven counties for the purpose of selecting presidential electors. Following the election, each county's canvassing board is responsible for counting and certifying the returns and forwarding them to the Florida Department of State. See Fla. Stat. § 102.141. "[A]s soon as the official results are compiled from all counties," the statewide Elections Canvassing Commission--comprising the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the Director of the Division of Elections-- is required to "certify the returns of the election and de- termine and declare who has been elected for each of- fice." Fla. Stat. § 102.111(1). Florida statutes specify a clear deadline by which counties must certify their returns to the Department of State. As the Florida Supreme Court itself put it in this case, "t he deadline set forth in section 102.111(1), Flor- ida Statutes (2000), requir[es] that all county returns be certified by 5 p.m. on the seventh day after an election." Pet. App. 4a. Section 102.111 underscores the firmness and importance of this deadline by providing that "[i]f the county returns are not received by the Department of State by 5 p.m. of the seventh day following an election, all missing counties shall be ignored, and the results shown by the returns on file shall be certified." Fla. Stat. § 102.111(1) (emphasis added). Another provision of the election code, Fla. Stat. § 102.112, reiterates the requirement that county "[r]eturns must be filed by 5 p.m. on the 7th day following the . . . general election." Fla. Stat. § 102.112(1) (emphasis added). Using differ- ent terminology, § 102.112 states: "If the returns are not received by the department [of State] by the time speci- fied, such returns may be ignored and the results on fileat that time may be certified by department." Fla. Stat. § 102.112(1) (emphasis added). Prior to the seven-day certification deadline, Florida law provides for recount of the votes in close races when the margin of victory is less than one-half of one per- cent. See Fla. Stat. § 102.141(4). In addition to this provision, the legislature has provided that disputes over election results may be raised by submitting a "protest" to the county canvassing boards, see Fla. Stat. § 102.166(1)-(2), and/or a request for a manual recount, see Fla. Stat. § 102.166(4)-(10).1 A protest must be lodged prior to the time the county canvassing board certifies the results or within five days after midnight of the date of the election, whichever occurs later. A re- quest for a manual recount must be filed prior to the time the county canvassing board certifies the results or within 72 hours of midnight of the date of the election, whichever occurs later. As of November 7, 2000, no provision of Florida law exempted the manual recount process from the seven-day certification deadline imposed by §§ 102.111 and 102.112. Thus, under the statutory scheme in effect on the date of the election, protest and recount proce- dures had to be completed before the seven-day deadline in order to be reflected in the county canvassing board's election returns, and the statutes expressly declared that county returns not received by the Secretary of State 1 County canvassing boards are authorized, but not re- quired, to grant requests for a manual recount. See Fla. Stat. § 102.166(4)(a)-(c). If the canvassing board chooses to em- bark on a manual recount, the board "shall appoint as many counting teams of at least two electors as is necessary to manually recount the ballots," Fla. Stat. § 102.166(7)(a), and "[i]f the counting team is unable to determine a voter's intent in casting a ballot, the ballot shall be presented to the county canvassing board for it to determine the voter's intent," id. at (7)(b). prior to the deadline (5:00 p.m. on November 14 in this case) "may be ignored." Fla. Stat. §§ 102.112. After certification, candidates and voters may con- test the certification of an election by filing a complaint in Leon County Circuit Court. See Fla. Stat. §§ 102.168, 102.1685. Such contests must be initiated within 10 days of the certification, see Fla. Stat. § 102.168(2). The contest process involves extensive judicial proceedings, including formal pleadings, discovery, trial, and appeals. See Fla. Stat. § 102.168(3)-(8); Bolden v. Potter, 452 So. 2d 564, 565-66 (Fla. 1984). B. The Presidential Election In Florida And The Tabulation Of Votes On November 8, 2000, the Florida Secretary of State announced that Governor Bush and Secretary Che- ney had received the most popular votes in the previous day's election by a narrow margin. Those results were not certified, however, because the slim margin of vi c- tory triggered the recount provision of Florida law, and because of the need to receive and count overseas absen- tee ballots.2 On November 14, the results of the recount were announced: Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney had received the most popular votes for President and Vice President in the Florida election. The Florida Secretary of State announced her intention to proceed with certifi- cation of the results of the election upon receipt and tabulation of the overseas ballots.3 On November 17, 2 Under a federal consent decree, Florida must allow ten days from the date of the election for overseas absentee bal- lots to be received. See United States v. Florida, Civ. No. TCA-80-1055 (N.D. Fla. Apr. 2, 1982). 3 The Florida legislature has assigned the task of certifying the results of presidential elections to the Department of State. See Fla. Stat. § 103.011. County canvassing boards2000, however, before the overseas ballots could be tabulated and the election results certified, the Florida Supreme Court sua sponte issued a stay order enjoining the Secretary of State and the Elections Canvassing Commission from proceeding with certification. Pet. App. 39a-40a. In the interim, respondent Florida Democratic Party had filed protests in four counties: Broward, Miami- Dade, Palm Beach, and Volusia. Respondent requested that the ballots cast in those selected counties--each heavily Democratic--be recounted by hand under the manual recount provisions of the protest section of the Florida Election Code set forth in Fla. Stat. § 102.166(4)-(10). The Florida statute governing manual recounts con- tains no standards describing how manual recounts will be conducted or guidelines concerning the means by which a voter's intent will be ascertained. The four counties thus embarked upon various paths in attempting to divine the "voter's intent." Fla. Stat. § 102.166(7)(b). Counties adopted conflicting guidelines for reviewing ballots, and changed their own guidelines and standards repeatedly throughout the recounting process. The con- fusion, bordering on chaos, that developed during these selectively focused manual recounts has been well- publicized. The manual recounts followed two me- chanical counts of punch-card ballots in three of the counties and considerable hand examination of the physical ballots. Review of punch-card ballots pro- ceeded from analysis of the degree to which punch-card initially certify their local election results and forward them to the Department of State. The Elections Canvassing Com- mission, of which the Secretary of State is a member, is then charged with certifying the overall returns of the election and declaring who has been elected to office. See Fla. Stat. § 102.111.ballots had been perforated to examination for voter in- tent of indentations ("dimples") on the ballots. II. The Litigation At Issue After the Secretary of State announced her decision to certify the election results on November 14, 2000 without including the results of manual recounts submit- ted after the statutory deadline, Volusia County sued the Secretary and the Elections Canvassing Commission seeking to extend the November 14 limit on the time within which to submit county returns. Palm Beach County, the Florida Democratic Party, and Vice Presi- dent Gore intervened as plaintiffs; Governor Bush and others intervened as defendants. A. The Trial Court's Decisions On November 14, 2000, the Circuit Court for Leon County held that the Secretary had discretion to ignore returns received after the statutory deadline. The court held that "the County Canvassing Boards must certify and file what election returns they have by the statutory deadline of 5:00 p.m. of November 14, 2000, with due notification to the Secretary of State of any pending manual recount, and may thereafter file supplemental or corrective returns," and also held that "[t]he Secretary of State may ignore such late filed returns . . . by the proper exercise of discretion after consideration of all appropri- ate facts and circumstances." Pet. App. 45a. The court reasoned that, under the language of Fla. Stat. § 102.112, "[t]hat the Secretary may ignore late filed re- turns necessarily means that the Secretary does not have to ignore such returns. It is, as the Secretary acknowl- edges, within her discretion." Id. at 48a. After the trial court's order was announced, the Sec- retary of State asked counties interested in submitting returns after the deadline to provide her with written ex- planations of their reasons for doing so by 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 15. J.A. 39. After receivingsubmissions from four counties, the Secretary of State exercised her discretion and concluded that insufficient reasons had been given to justify extending the deadline to include the results of manual recounts not yet com- plete. J.A. 21-38. Vice President Gore and others then asked the trial court to issue an order directing the Secretary to waive the statutory deadline and allow late results from three counties--Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach--to be included in the final vote tally. (The Volusia County manual recount was completed and the results submitted prior to the deadline.) On November 17, 2000, the Circuit Court for Leon County issued its second decision, rejecting Vice Presi- dent Gore's request to waive the statutory deadline. Pet. App. 42a-43a. The court held that the Secretary of State had not violated its November 14 order and explained that "the Secretary has exercised her reasoned judgment to determine what relevant factors and criteria should be considered, applied them to the facts and circumstances pertinent to the individual counties involved, and made her decision." Pet. App. 43a. B. Proceedings In The Florida Supreme Court Vice President Gore and Broward and Palm Beach counties appealed from the Leon County Circuit Court's decision that the Secretary of State had not abused her discretion in declining to include in the statewide tabula- tion results from manual recounts filed after the 5:00 p.m. November 14 deadline. On Friday, November 17, 2000, without the benefit of briefing or argument, the Florida Supreme Court sua sponte enjoined the Secre- tary of State and the Elections Canvassing Commission from certifying the November 7 presidential election re- sults for the State of Florida until further order of the court. Pet. App. 39a-40a. The following day, November 18, 2000, the results of the absentee balloting were announced. Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney were once again found to have received more votes than their opponents. On the evening of November 21, 2000, the Florida Supreme Court issued its opinion reversing the orders of the trial court. Pet. App. 1a-38a.4 The Florida Supreme Court held that the trial court had "erred in holding that the Secretary [of State] acted within her discretion in prematurely rejecting any amended returns that would be the result of ongoing manual recounts." Pet. App. 34a. The court determined that the language of Fla. Stat. §§ 102.111 and 102.112, which provide that county can- vassing boards "must . . . file" their returns by 5:00 p.m. on the seventh day following the election and that late-filed returns "may be ignored" or "shall be ignored" by the Elections Canvassing Commission did not con- trol. The Florida Supreme Court concluded that the question before it was "whether the Commission must accept a return after the seven-day deadline set forth in sections 102.111 and 102.112," Pet. App. 14a (emphasis added), and answered this question in the affirmative. The Florida Supreme Court rejected "hyper- technical reliance upon statutory provisions" in resolv- ing the controversy. Pet. App. 8a; id. at 31a ("Technical statutory requirements must not be exalted over the sub- stance of [the] right [of suffrage]."); id. at 36a ("the will of the electors supersedes any technical statutory re- quirements"). The court concluded that while it har- 4 The supreme court consolidated the appeal with an origi- nal action in which the court was asked to resolve the conflict between two executive branch opinions concerning the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board's authority to conduct a manual recount. The court ultimately dismissed the original petition, but expressly stated in its opinion that the Palm Beach board had authority to conduct the county-wide man- ual recount. Pet. App. 2a n.1, 13a.bored "reluctance to rewrite the Florida Electon Code, we conclude that we must invoke the equitable powers of this Court to fashion a remedy that will allow a fair and expeditious resolution of the questions presented here." Id. at 37a-38a. On this basis, the court then an- nounced that the Secretary's discretion to ignore un- timely election returns under Fla. Stat. §§ 102.111 and 102.112, could only be exercised "if the returns are submitted so late that their inclusion will preclude a candidate from contesting the certification or preclude Florida's voters from participating fully in the federal electoral process." Pet. App. 35a. The Florida court thus announced that the Novem- ber 14 deadline for accepting county election returns was inoperative in this election and directed the Secre- tary of State and the Elections Canvassing Commission to accept manual recount returns through 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 26, 2000. Pet. App. 37a-38a. Moreover, the court maintained its injunction preventing the Elections Canvassing Commission from certifying any election results until that date, and directed the Commission to include in its certified election results all manual recount returns received by that date. Id. at 38a. III. Events Since The Petition Was Filed As noted above, the Florida Supreme Court's deci- sion announced a new deadline of 5:00 p.m. on Nove m- ber 26, 2000, for all counties to submit amended returns, including the results of any manual recounts. Thereaf- ter, the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board voted unanimously not to proceed with a manual recount. The manual recount was completed in Broward County. Palm Beach County did not complete its manual recount before Florida Supreme Court's November 26, 2000 5:00 p.m. deadline. On the evening of November 26, 2000, as directed by the court below, all counties with outstanding results submitted election returns to the Secretary of State.Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney once again were determined to have received the most votes. That same evening, the Elections Canvassing Commission certified the results and formally declared Governor Bush the winner of Florida's 25 Electoral College votes. Upon announcing the certified results, the Secretary of State explained why certification had been delayed:It was and it remains my opinion that the appro- priate deadlines for filing certified returns in this election are those mandated by the Legislature. And it remains my opinion that the proper re- turns in this election are the returns that were certified by those deadlines. The Florida Su- preme Court, however, disagrees. The court created a new schedule for filing certifications and conducting election contests rather than im- plementing the schedule enacted by the Legisla- ture. . . .Counting the Vote; Statements on the Certification of Florida's Votes, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 27, 2000, at A13. Vice President Gore has declared his intention to contest the election in circuit court by challenging the results certified by at least three Florida counties (Mi- ami-Dade, Nassau, and Palm Beach). That contest was filed on November 27, 2000. In that litigation, the Vice President seeks a further round of manual recounting, this time conducted by judges, and seeks to have the re- sults of those recounts included in the statewide returns.
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT1. The Florida Supreme Court's decision, which announced a new framework and timetable for resolving controversies over the presidential election results in that State, should be vacated because it does not comply with 3 U.S.C. § 5. a. Responding to a presidential election crisis much like that unfolding in Florida during the past three weeks, Congress enacted a statutory scheme to imple- ment the constitutional mechanism of the Electoral Col- lege. 3 U.S.C. §§ 1-15. One of those statutes, § 5, pro- vides that state-court resolutions of controversies regard- ing the appointment of presidential electors shall be conclusive only if they are made pursuant to "laws en- acted prior to" election day. b. The court below rejected Florida statutes and deadlines for the appointment of electors and the resolu- tion of presidential election disputes as "hyper- technical." Instead, it resorted to its "equitable powers" to prescribe new standards and deadlines, suspend man- datory enforcement mechanisms, and curtail the discre- tion conferred on the state executive by the legislature. The decision below constitutes a clear departure from the legal requirements established before election day, and announces new rules governing the resolution of election disputes. The Florida Supreme Court thus con- sciously and boldly overrode Florida's "laws enacted prior to" election day and replaced them two weeks later with laws of its own invention. c. Title 3 U.S.C. §5 is designed to ensure that dis- putes relating to the appointment of presidential electors will be decided under laws made prior to the exigency under which they arose. It was enacted by Congress to discourage precisely what has happened in Florida this month, where the candidate who did not receive the most votes in the official tabulation is attempting to change the result by changing the rules. But the plain language of the statute provides that state courts must adhere to preexisting law if their resolution of election controve rsies is to be given binding effect. The court below failed to do so. d. The Florida Supreme Court's decision should be vacated as a result of its failure to comply with 3 U.S.C. § 5. The resulting consequences are two -fold. First, the executive officials in Florida would be able to discharge all of their duties, including their duties imposed by fed- eral law, under the rules in place on election day. Sec- ond, Congress would be able to give conclusive effect to the official certification of the Elections Canvassing Commission regarding the appointment of Florida's electors made pursuant to the carefully crafted scheme put in place before the election to apply equally to all voters and candidates. Vacating the decision below would thus allow the Electoral College process to reach a lawful, final, and conclusive resolution of the presi- dential election. 2. The Florida Supreme Court, by arrogating to it- self the authority to make new rules applicable to this election contest, also violated Article II of the Constitu- tion, which invests the authority to regulate the manner of appointing presidential electors in state legislatures. a. The Constitution provides that "[e]ach State shall appoint [electors] in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct." U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 1. His- tory and precedent establish that this power granted to state legislatures is both plenary and exclusive. b. Article II establishes a federally mandated sepa- ration of powers between the state legislature and other branches of state government in the context of choosing presidential electors. The Framers deliberately chose to invest the power to determine the manner of choosing electors in this particular branch of state government, thereby excluding the exercise of such power by the other branches. Any delegation of this constitutional au- thority must be both clear and express. c. The Florida legislature has not granted to the state supreme court the authority to determine the man- ner of choosing electors. On the contrary, the legislature has established a complex and detailed framework for presidential elections, and has granted the executive branch the authority to exercise limited discretion and to certify the results of such elections in accordance with statutorily imposed deadlines. The state court reached out and prohibited the executive branch officials from performing their duties, and announced new deadlines to supplant those enacted by the legislature. The court thus arrogated to itself the power to determine the manner in which Florida's electors are appointed, authority that the Constitution reposes only in the state legislature. d. The proper remedy for the Florida Supreme Court's violation of Article II is nullification of its at- tempt to interfere in the manner in which the State's electors are appointed. The court below had no author- ity under the federal Constitution to announce new rules for this presidential election. Its attempt at judicial leg- islation was unconstitutional, and its actions patently ul- tra vires, and the court's decision is thus void. As a re- sult, the state executive branch officials should be freed by this Court to carry out their duties without the uncon- stitutional interference of the state supreme court.
ARGUMENTPresidential electors "exercise federal functions un- der," and discharge duties pursuant to, "authority con- ferred by" the Constitution. Burroughs v. United States, 290 U.S. 534, 545 (1934). The Constitution reposes in Congress authority to "determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes." U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 4. Congressional authority over electors is, however, much broader. The President exercises the whole of the Nation's executive power. U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1. "The importance of his election and the vital character of its relationship to and effect upon the welfare and safety of the whole people cannot be too strongly stated." Burroughs, 290 U.S. at 545. Among the powers vested in Congress is the power to "protect the election of the President and Vice Presi- dent from corruption." Id. at 547. A fortiori, Congress also possesses ample authority to prevent chaos, turmoil, and violations of due process in presidential elections.The Constitution allocates to each of the States the authority to "appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors," U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 2, and the electors are, in turn, empowered to meet and to vote by ballot for the election of the President. U.S. CONST. amend. XII. Article II, § 1 does not, however, shield state election laws from other con- stitutional requirements. See Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23, 29 (1968) ("Obviously we must reject the no- tion that Art. II, § 1, gives the States power to impose burdens on the right to vote, where such burdens are ex- pressly prohibited in other constitutional provisions."). Indeed, state-imposed restraints on or impediments to the ability to cast an effective ballot in a presidential election "implicate a uniquely important national inter- est. For the President and the Vice President of the United States are the only elected officials who repre- sent all the voters in the Nation. Moreover, the impact of the votes cast in each State is affected by the votes cast for the various candidates in other States." Ander- son v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780, 794-95 (1983). Ballot requirements, "including filing deadlines, [have] an impact beyond . . . [the] borders" of a particu- lar state. Id. at 795 (emphasis added). "Similarly, the State has a less important interest in regulating Presiden- tial elections than statewide or local elections, because the outcome of the former will be largely determined by voters beyond the State's boundaries." Id. There is a "pervasive national interest'" in presidential elections that is "greater than any interest of an individual State.'" Id. (quoting Cousins v. Wigoda, 419 U.S. 477, 490 (1975)). I. The Judgment Of The Florida Supreme Court Should Be Vacated Because It Does Not Comply With 3 U.S.C. § 5 A. State Court Determinations Regarding Controversies Over The Appointment Of Presidential Electors Lack Conclusive Ef- fect Unless They Implement Legal Rules Enacted Before The Election In keeping with the "broad congressional power to legislate in connection with the elections of the Presi- dent and Vice President," Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 14 n.16 (1976), Congress has enacted statutes to imple- ment the constitutional framework governing the Elec- toral College. See, e.g., 3 U.S.C. §§ 1-15. Of particular relevance here, 3 U.S.C. § 5 sets forth the circumstances under which state court determinations relating to "any controversy or contest concerning the appointment of all or any of the electors" of the State will be given authori- tative effect. Under §5, such determinations shall be given "conclusive" effect and will "govern in the count- ing of the electoral votes," but only if the controversy is resolved exclusively by reference to "laws enacted prior to" election day. 3 U.S.C. §5 (emphasis added); see also id. (providing that the determination of such "con- trovers[ies]" must be "made pursuant to" the prior en- acted law). Thus, any judicial determination of a con- troversy regarding electors based on a new, post-election rule of state law would fail to satisfy the requirements of § 5 and would not receive the benefit Congress intended to confer on election results and the resolution of con- troversies concerning elections determined according to rules established and in place before an election. Section 5 was enacted in 1887 as a reaction to the contested Hayes-Tilden election of 1876, a contest marked by naked partisanship, post-election maneuver- ing and accusations of corruption. In adopting the statu- tory scheme that emphasizes certainty and clear, pre-setrules to govern disputes, Congress was evidently deter- mined to avoid a similar episode. See 18 CONG. REC. 30 (Dec. 7, 1886) (remarks of Rep. Caldwell) (bill is in- tended to prevent repeat of "the year of disgrace, 1876" in which a "cabal . . . had determined . . . to debauch the Electoral College"). The manifest purpose of this federal law is to ensure that attempts by state courts or other tribunals to influence or affect the determination of the State's electors will not be effective when reached pursuant to rules, standards or criteria adopted after the voters have gone to the polls. As Representative Wil- liam Craig Cooper of Ohio explained in the congres- sional debate on this statute (Act of Feb. 3, 1887, ch. 90, § 2, 24 Stat. 373), "these contests, these disputes be- tween rival electors, between persons claiming to have been appointed electors, should be settled under a law made prior to the day when such contests are to be de- cided." 18 CONG. REC. 47 (Dec. 8, 1886) (remarks of Rep. Cooper); see also id. ("these contests should be de- cided under and by virtue of laws made prior to the exi- gency under which they arose"). Against this backdrop, any contention that the Flor- ida Legislature satisfied 3 U.S.C. § 5 merely by delegat- ing to the state courts the authority to resolve disputes concerning the appointment of electors is plainly unten- able. First and foremost, nothing in Florida's election statutes authorizes the state supreme court to set aside carefully developed rules and thoughtfully balanced timetables for the conduct of election protests, recounts and contests. Even the supreme court expressed its "r e- luctance to rewrite the Florida Election Code." Pet. App. 37a. And given the detailed and carefully wrought statutory deadlines and the authority assigned to Flor- ida's election officials, there is no basis for inferring that the legislature intended courts to exercise equitable powers to change the rules in the midst of the State's ef- forts to ascertain and pronounce election results.Moreover, such an interpretation of the Judiciary's authority would render §5 a virtual nullity, and would offer none of the protections that Congress sought to achieve in enacting the statute. If state legislatures could simply convey authority to a chosen tribunal to create new post-election rules to govern disputes over the appointment of electors, States could easily avoid the limitations imposed by 3 U.S.C. §5. Section 5 plainly does not admit of such an interpretation, because it pro- vides that the judicial or other determination at issue must have been made "pursuant to" preexisting law, not merely by a preexisting tribunal. As Representative Cooper cogently observed, "How could any court, how could any tribunal intelligently solve the claims of par- ties under a law which is made concurrent, to the very moment perhaps, with the trouble which they are to set- tle under the law?" 18 CONG. REC. 47 (Dec. 8, 1886). B. The Decision Below Announces New Rules Of Law And Timetables To Gov- ern Controversies And Contests Con- cerning Florida's Appointment Of Presi- dential Electors A judicial decision that has the effect of adopting a new rule of law to govern election disputes cannot, con- sistent with § 5, be applied retroactively to affect the ap- pointment of presidential electors at an already- conducted election. Rather than confining its analysis and its remedy to the requirements set forth in Florida election statutes, the Florida Supreme Court invoked its inherent "equitable powers" to prescribe new deadlines, suspend mandatory fines, and eviscerate the Secretary's statutory discretion, all in favor of its own conception of what would constitute "a fair and expeditious resolution of the questions presented here." Pet. App. 37a-38a. Under 3 U.S.C. § 5, however, this Court has an inde- pendent obligation to ensure that Florida resolves any controversies over the appointment of electors by refer- ence to the rules enacted by the legislature prior to theelection, not post hoc standards announced for the first time by courts some two weeks after the election. In cases arising under the Ex Post Facto Clause, which similarly forbids certain types of retroactive state rulemaking, this Court has held that the question whether state law has changed in a manner that violates the Clause is a question of federal, not state, law, even though resolution of that question requires a compara- tive analysis of state law. Lindsey v. Washington, 301 U.S. 397, 400 (1937) ("[W]hether the [state-law] stan- dards of punishment set up before and after the commis- sion of an offense differ, and whether the later standard is more onerous than the earlier within the meaning of the constitutional prohibition, are federal questions which this Court will determine for itself."); see Carmell v. Texas, 120 S. Ct. 1620, 1639 n.31 (2000) ("Whether a state law is properly characterized as falling under the Ex Post Facto Clause, however, is a federal question we determine for ourselves."). By the same token, the ques- tion whether a State is attempting to resolve controve r- sies over the appointment of electors by reference to "laws enacted prior to the day fixed for the appoint- ment," or is instead attempting to impose new rules of law retroactively in violation of 3 U.S.C. §5, is ulti- mately a question of federal law. This Court has not previously had occasion to set forth the appropriate test for determining whether a state court has adopted a new rule of law within the meaning of § 5. The Court has, however, frequently addressed virtually the same question in determining whether to give retroactive effect to newly decided cases in the ha- beas corpus context. In Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989), the Court explained that "[i]n general . . . a case announces a new rule when it breaks new ground .. . . To put it differently, a case announces a new rule if the result was not dictated by precedent existing at the time . . . ." Id. at 301 (opinion of O'Connor, J.). In determin- ing whether a rule of law announced by a court is in factnew, this Court will "determine whether a .. . court . . . would have felt compelled by existing precedent to con- clude that the rule" was required. Caspari v. Bohlen, 510 U.S. 383, 390 (1994) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).5 While Teague uses prior judicial precedents as its point of reference for determining whether a judicial de- cision establishes a "new rule," the appropriate question under 3 U.S.C. § 5 is, of course, whether the Florida Su- preme Court adopted a "new rule" as measured against the existing statutory provisions "enacted" by the legis- lature to govern presidential elections. Under this un- derstanding, it is clear that the decision below announces a new rule for purposes of 3 U.S.C. § 5. Plainly, the de- cision below "breaks new ground" and announces a re- sult that was not "dictated by" statutes in effect at the time of the November 7 election. As even the Gore re- spondents acknowledge, the state supreme court failed to resolve the dispute at issue here according to laws "enacted prior to" election day. Instead, "[i]n light of the unique circumstances of the case, the court invoked its equitable powers to fashion a remedy . . . ." Gore Opp. 12 (emphasis added); see Pet. App. 37a. The invo- cation of a court's equitable powers to fashion novel remedies, new rules, and ad hoc timetables plainly fails 5 The Teague line of cases provides a useful metric for de- termining whether a court has announced a new rule, and Teague's underlying concerns for finality and the enforce- ment of settled expectations parallel the interests served by 3 U.S.C. § 5. Under any permissible definition, however, the Florida Supreme Court's decision in this case imposed new rules. There is simply no law enacted prior to Election Day that set forth the deadline of November 26 announced in the decision below or the virtually non-existent range of discre- tion within which the Secretary of State was allowed to oper- ate. A legislative pronouncement that required (or author- ized) late returns to be ignored was inverted into a require- ment that late returns be accepted.to comply with the congressional directive that disputes concerning the appointment of presidential electors must be resolved "pursuant to" the "laws enacted prior to" election day in order to be given effect. 3 U.S.C. § 5. Undeterred by--and seemingly indifferent to--the express federal statutory disapproval of the post hoc creation of new legal rules that could change the out- come of controversies over the appointment of presiden- tial electors, the Supreme Court of Florida has author- ized a 180-degree departure from the established legal requirements set forth by the Florida Legislature that were in place on November 7. Prior to election day 2000, the Florida Legislature had enacted clear legisla- tive directives regarding the certification of votes cast in the presidential election. Section 102.112 of the Florida Statutes unequivocally required that election returns by county canvassing boards "must be filed by 5:00 p.m. on the 7th day following the . . . general election . . . ." The new rule of law announced by the decision below changes the effective deadline for submission of election returns from November 14 until November 26 (Pet. App. 38a), nearly tripling the statutory seven-day protest period and certification deadline mandated by the Flor- ida Legislature. Further, § 102.111 of the Florida Statutes provides that the Elections Canvassing Commission "shall . . . ig- nore" county returns filed after 5:00 p.m. on the sev- enth day following the election, and "shall . . . certif[y]" the election based on the results returned before the deadline. Section 102.112(1) confirms that late-filed re- turns "may be ignored" by the Elections Canvassing Commission. See Fla. Stat. §102.112.6 In the face of 6 This statute, enacted in 1989, appears to have been passed in response to the Supreme Court of Florida's deci- sion in Chappell v. Martinez, 536 So. 2d 1007, 1008-09 (Fla. 1988), in which the court affirmed the Secretary of State's exercise of discretion to accept late returns from a county that this clear and preexisting legislative directive, the Su- preme Court of Florida has concluded retroactively that the Elections Canvassing Commission shall not and may not ignore late-filed returns, but must hold the results of a national election open for an additional extended pe- riod of time, and shall include late returns based on se- lective manual recounts in individual counties. Pet. App. 38a. Even if the Secretary of State might have been au- thorized to excuse a county board's insubstantial non- compliance with the 5:00 p.m. November 14 deadline (see Fla. Stat. §102.112), nothing in Florida law as it existed before November 7, 2000, required that she do so, and certainly there was no preexisting requirement in Florida law that she accept returns filed 12 days after the statutory deadline, thus tripling the legislature's protest period and concomitantly shortening the contest period. Indeed, without any support in Florida election statutes, the court below simply announced that "[t]he Secretary may ignore [late] returns only if their inclusion will compromise the integrity of the electoral process in ei- ther of two ways: (1) by precluding a candidate, elector, or taxpayer from contesting the certification of election pursuant to section 102.168; or (2) by precluding Florida voters from participating fully in the federal electoral process." Pet. App. 37a. These explicit but sharply lim- ited, judicially crafted criteria wholly supplant the ex- plicit provisions of §§ 102.111 and 102.112, which (at most) leave the power to excuse compliance with the certification deadlines to the Secretary's discretion. had substantially complied with the statutory deadline. In passing § 102.112, however, the state legislature did not amend or in any way alter § 102.111. In fact, the Florida House rejected an amendment that would have replaced "shall" in § 102.111 with "may." 1989 Fla. Sen. J. 819. In any event, as discussed below, § 102.112 states that late re- sults may be ignored, not that such results may not be ig- nored, as the Florida Supreme Court's novel ruling directed. The Florida Legislature directly contemplated close elections when it enacted the controlling statutory provi- sions at issue. Florida election law not only authorizes machine and manual recounts, but sets explicit limits and short timeframes for the period during which they may be conducted. In passing §§ 102.111 and 102.112 the legislature plainly determined that expedition and fi- nality were paramount considerations, and elevated those goals over the need for manual recounts that might threaten to drag on interminably. If requested, manual recounts are neither required nor are they conducted on a statewide basis. The statutory deadline, by contrast, is expressed in unambiguously mandatory terms and ap- plies uniformly throughout the state. No meaningful conflict can be discerned between the carefully confined time limits for the protest phase, including the manual recount provisions, and the statutory deadline provi- sions: manual recounts, under the law as it existed on November 7, must be completed within the deadline. The new, judicially established statutory deadline written in place of the one contained in §§ 102.111 and 102.112 also creates a new rule of law in that it effec- tively modifies the legislative provisions provi ding for contests to election results. See Fla. Stat. § 102.168. That statute clearly anticipates that results will be certi- fied in a timely fashion, in order for the results to be contested in court. A contestant has ten days from the time the last county canvassing board certifies its returns to file his or her complaint. The defendant then has ten days to file an answer. By issuing a judicial decree that pushes back the deadline for certification from Nove m- ber 14 to November 26, the Florida Supreme Court has modified the preexisting rule of law discernible on the face of the legislature's contest provisions. Indeed, be- cause any judicial or other proceedings regarding chal- lenges to the appointment of electors must be finally re-solved by December 12,7 contestants, and particularly defendants, will not have the statutorily provided time in which to file their pleadings, conduct discovery, and participate in a trial and appeal as contemplated by the legislature. Plainly, the Florida Supreme Court created a new rule, one that had not been in existence before elec- tion day 2000, for resolving disputes concerning the ap- pointment of electors.8 Because no preexisting rule of law required the Sec- retary of State to waive the time limit on the facts pre- sented, the Florida Supreme Court's attempt to enforce its newly announced rule retroactively plainly fails to satisfy 3 U.S.C. § 5. That is particularly true in this case, given the court's acknowledgement that it was not interpreting Florida law, but was relying on principles of "equit[y]" to justify its decision. E.g., Pet. App. 37a. Significantly, the requirements of 3 U.S.C. § 5 are satis- fied only if the state court determination at issue is made pursuant to laws that were "enacted" prior to election day. In imposing this requirement, Congress faithfully adhered to the constitutional mandate that state legisla- tures are to direct the manner in which presidential elec- tors are appointed. U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 2. 7 Section 5 of Title 3 provides that any controversy or con- test concerning the appointment of presidential electors shall be resolved "at least six days prior to" the day fixed for the meeting of electors. 3 U.S.C. § 5. The day fixed for the meeting of presidential electors this year is December 18, 2000. See 3 U.S.C. § 7. 8 Similarly, the constantly changing and county-to-county variations in the recount protocols and standards, including consideration by some counties during the manual recount of simple indentations known as "dimples" as legally cast votes, clearly marks a departure from prior practice as of November 7, and thus reflects another post-election change in proce- dures that is inconsistent with § 5. By choosing the term "enacted," Congress made clear that the laws to be followed in resolving disputes are state legislative acts, not the post-election equitable decrees fashioned by state courts to promulgate new rules. This understanding comports with accepted legal usage of the term "e nacted" and with decisions from this Court. See BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY 890, 1606 (7th ed. 1999) (s.v. "law") (defining "enacted law" as "[l]aw that has its source in legislation; WRITTEN LAW"; defin- ing "written law" as "[s]tatutory law, together with con- stitutions and treaties, as opposed to judge-made law") (emphasis added); United States v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437, 443 (1965) (distinguishing "legislative enactment" from "judicial application" and "executive implementation"); United States v. Harris, 106 U.S. 629, 639 (1883) (refer- ring to "the laws of the State, as enacted by its legisla- tive, and construed by its judicial, and administered by its executive departments"). The decision below, by re- jecting the "technical" requirements actually "enacted" by the Florida Legislature in favor of the court's own notions of "equity," clearly fails to satisfy § 5's re- quirement that election law disputes be resolved pursu- ant to preexisting "enact[ments]." Thus, the decision below was not dictated by preex- isting law and, in fact, the statutory provisions applica- ble to resolving disputes over the appointment of elec- tors were expressly overridden. Although the state su- preme court's decision discusses Florida laws that ex- isted prior to election day, it does not identify any source of preexisting law that set forth the substance of the rules set forth in the judgment below. The Florida Su- preme Court itself fully acknowledged throughout its opinion that it was not following the legislature's ex- press directives. Indeed, it dismissed such provisions as inconvenient "[t]echnical statutory requirements." Pet. App. 31a. The Florida Supreme Court's decision thus consciously and unapologetically fails to adhere to the "laws enacted prior to" election day. Nothing in Florida law prior to November 7 revealed that the seven-day pe- riod for certification of election results was in reality a nineteen-day period, or that the Secretary of State's broad power to enforce the statutory deadline and reject untimely election returns was wholly displaced by extra- statutory criteria. Far from being compelled by preexist- ing legislative enactments, the state supreme court's de- cision clearly changed Florida election law and an- nounced a "new rule." Tellingly, even the Gore respondents do not dispute that a change in the law took place. They simply claim that the Florida Supreme Court's decision does not "change the rules' in any way that implicates federal law." Gore Opp. 17 (emphasis added). Under 3 U.S.C. § 5, however, any post-election change in the rules gov- erning the appointment of presidential electors (much less the extensive revisions introduced by the Florida Supreme Court in this case) not only implicates federal law, it squarely ignores and overrides the federal re- quirements and standards enunciated in § 5. C. The Florida Supreme Court's Decision Also Upsets The Policy Choice Made By Congress In 3 U.S.C. § 5 As noted above, the legislative history and purpose of 3 U.S.C. §5 confirm that the new rule announced by the Florida Supreme Court is inconsistent with the re- quirements of §5. The intent of §5 is to ensure that disputes relating to the appointment of presidential elec- tors will be "decided under and by virtue of laws made prior to the exigency under which they arose." 18 CONG. REC. 47 (Dec. 8, 1886) (remarks of Rep. Coo- per). In other words, the rule of law means the applica- tion of rules properly enacted and generally understood before the contest--not rules made up afterwards to suit the needs of one or the other of the protagonists. The federal rule enunciated by Congress in 3 U.S.C. § 5 serves obvious and important public policy interests by discouraging precisely what is happening in Floridatoday, where the candidate who did not receive the most votes and his subordinates seek to ove rturn the results of the presidential election by appealing for the enactment of new rules after the election has been held. That was done repeatedly during the recounts, ending with the ef- fort to force adoption of the "dimpled" ballot concept, and it was done when the time limit for conducting manual recounts was changed from seven to nineteen days. Section 5's rejection of such retroactive rulemak- ing in the election context provides a statutory corollary to the principle of federal constitutional law recognized by the Eleventh Circuit in Roe v. Alabama, 43 F.3d 574 (11th Cir. 1995). As the court of appeals held in that case, constitutional principles of due process and fun- damental fairness preclude the States from adopting "a post-election departure from previous practice" and ap- plying that post-election rule retroactively to determine the outcome of an election. Id. at 581. Here, as in Roe, "had the candidates . . . known" that the state supreme court would retroactively extend the deadline for sub- mission of election returns notwithstanding the plain language of the governing statutes, or that recount stan- dards would be changed from day to day according to the whims of the officials in charge of the process in each county, "campaign strategies would have taken this into account .. . ." Id. at 582. Indeed, the candidates' decisions whether to seek a manual recount in specific additional counties might well have been affected had petitioner and other candidates known that the Florida Supreme Court would subsequently extend the statutory deadline nearly threefold and that local officials could adopt recount rules that favored their preferred candi- dates. Considerations of due process and fundamental fairness plainly preclude such retroactive rulemaking here.
* * * * *The application of 3 U.S.C. § 5 in these circum- stances is straightforward. Perhaps because no candi-date has previously resisted so strenuously and resource- fully the certification of election results as has Vice President Gore, this Court has not previously been called upon to decide whether or not the state courts, in order to satisfy §5, must adhere to preexisting law in resolv- ing election disputes. But the plain language of the fed- eral statute indicates that they must do so if their deci- sions are to be given binding effect, and it is equally plain that the Florida Supreme Court failed to do so here. D. Because The Judgment Below Does Not Comply With 3 U.S.C. § 5, It Is Not Bind- ing On Congress Or The Elections Can- vassing Commission The additional question posed by this Court asks "What would be the consequences of this Court's find- ing that the decision of the Supreme Court of Florida does not comply with 3 U.S.C. § 5?" The appropriate remedy to follow from such a find- ing seems obvious: This Court should vacate the Florida Supreme Court's judgment, thereby reinstating the Elec- tions Canvassing Commission's statutory authority to act in accordance with the clear and specific deadlines prescribed by Florida election law as of November 7, 2000. The same relief would flow, of course, from this Court's determination that the decision below violates Article II. Such a result would permit Florida's executive offi- cials to perform their duties under the law as it existed on November 7, 2000. As explained above, Title 3 sets forth a carefully crafted federal scheme, in which the States play a crucial role. Florida, in particular, has through its legislature designated certain state executive branch officials, including the Secretary of State and the Elections Canvassing Commission, as the state officials responsible for performing Florida's obligations under the federal scheme and exercising appropriate discretion. Title 3 U.S.C. § 15, which directly implements Congress's authority under the Twelfth Amendment to count electoral votes, sets forth, inter alia, the proce- dures by which Members of Congress may object to the votes cast by certain electors, and how Congress will re- solve those objections. It provides that "no electoral vote or votes from any State which shall have been regu- larly given by electors whose appointment has been law- fully certified to according to section 6 of this title from which but one return has been received shall be rejected . . . ." 3 U.S.C. § 15. Section 6, in turn, states that "if there shall have been any final determination in a State in the manner provided for by law of a controversy or contest concerning the appointment of all or any of the electors of such State, it shall be the duty of the execu- tive of such State, as soon as practicable after such de- termination, to communicate under the Seal of the State to the Archivist of the United States a certificate of such determination in form and manner as the same shall have been made." 3 U.S.C. §6. Thus, this Court's de- termination that the judgment below does not comply with § 5 would also ensure that Congress, in performing its functions under 3 U.S.C. § 15, would be bound to give "conclusive" effect to the official certification of the Elections Canvassing Commission concerning the appointment of Florida's electors made according to the unmodified Florida election law. 3 U.S.C. § 5. Congress has enacted a statutory framework that is dependent to a significant degree on certifications and other actions by state executive officials, which Con- gress has deemed necessary to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities related to counting the vo tes of the elec- toral college. It would frustrate Congress's carefully or- chestrated procedures for carrying out these important constitutional duties if state courts, acting in a manner manifestly inconsistent with 3 U.S.C. §5, could none- theless issue injunctions and other binding orders to state executive officials that prevent them from perform-ing their duties in accordance with pre-existing Florida statutes and, thus, with 3 U.S.C. § 5.9 This conflict is heightened by the fact that in certain circumstances, where the provisions of 3 U.S.C. § 5 have not been complied with, federal law gives conclu- sive effect to the determinations of the responsible state executive officials. Under 3 U.S.C. § 15, for example, if Congress receives multiple electoral vote returns from a State, none of which complies with 3 U.S.C. § 5, and the two Houses of Congress are unable to agree on which return to count, "then, and in that case, the votes of the electors whose appointments shall have been certified by the executive of the State, under the seal thereof, shall be counted." 3 U.S.C. § 15. Plainly, because a clear goal of § 5 is to avoid any possibility that Congress would be bound by state determinations that do not comply with §5, it cannot be the case that a state court determination that is inconsistent with §5 can compel state executive officials to certify election results in such a way as to bind Congress. The Florida Supreme Court's decision thus stands as an obstacle to state executive officials' performance of their federal statutory duties. A finding by this Court that the Florida decision was inconsistent with the re- quirements of 3 U.S.C. § 5 would accordingly require a declaration that the judgment below--as a matter of fed- eral law--is a nullity, to the extent it purports to bind state executive officials with federally assigned respon- sibilities relating to the November 7 election and the 9 Petitioner emphasizes that he is not asking this Court to declare the "correct" rule of Florida law. Rather, petitioner is simply seeking to ensure that Florida officials are able to per- form their federal duties with respect to this election without being restrained by the newly fashioned equitable decree, standards and timetable announced by the Florida Supreme Court to supplant the rules for this election.choice of presidential electors.10 As a result, the Elec- tions Canvassing Commission would be free to re- certify petitioner, once again, as the winner of the elec- tion context in Florida, with a corrected vote total re- flecting the vote tabulated in compliance with the statu- tory deadline of November 14.11 While it is true that petitioner was also certified the winner under the judicially-created deadline of Nove m- ber 26, the votes certified under that judicially-imposed procedure are substantially different from those that would have been certified as of the statutory deadline of November 14. Those differences may have significant consequences for the election contest challenge cur- rently being mounted by Vice President Gore. Under Florida law, there is a "presumption that re- turns certified by election officials are presumed to be correct." Boardman v. Esteva, 323 So. 2d 259, 268 (Fla. 1975). Specifically, certified election returns are "r e- garded by the courts as presumptively correct and if ra- tional and not clearly outside legal requirements should be upheld." Id. at 268-69 n.5 (quotation omitted). Con- 10 There is nothing surprising about that principle of law. For example, in the context of the Extradition Clause, U.S. CONST. art. IV, §2, cl. 2, and the federal statute that imple- ments it, 18 U.S.C. § 3182, this Court has overturned state court decisions that interfere with state executive officials' attempts to perform their duties imposed by federal law. New Mexico ex rel. Ortiz v. Read, 524 U.S. 151, 154-55 (1998); California v. Superior Court, 482 U.S. 400 (1987). 11 Nothing in the foregoing analysis, of course, affects the validity of the Elections Canvassing Commission's Novem- ber 26 certification that petitioner received the most votes in Florida's presidential election. The same presidential elec- tors would have been elected under a standard that complied with the statutory deadline, because petitioner and Secretary Cheney received the most votes each time the votes were tabulated.sequently, to overcome this strong presumption, an elec- tion challenger must show, as a threshold matter, that there has been "substantial noncompliance with the elec- tion statutes." Beckstrom v. Volusia County Canvassing Bd., 707 So. 2d 720, 725 (Fla. 1998). The proper application of this strong presumption to the results that would have been certified by the Elec- tions Canvassing Commission but for the Florida Su- preme Court's sua sponte November 17 order and No- vember 21 opinion and order would be significant to pe- titioner. First, the vote margin for petitioner is signifi- cantly smaller under the November 26 certification than it would have been under the certification required by the statute. Perhaps more importantly, the content of the votes certified on November 26--and thus entitled to the presumption of correctness--is significantly different than it would have been under the statutory deadline. For example, the November 26 certification includes "dimpled" ballots manually recounted in Broward County, a process that produced 567 additional votes for the Vice President. If this Court finds that the Florida Supreme Court's amendment of the statutory deadline to November 26 is inconsistent with § 5, those 567 votes will not be clothed with the presumption of correctness afforded certified election returns. Instead, the vote tally produced by the normal, machine assisted, recount and submitted by Broward County on November 14 will be entitled to that presumption. Which votes are viewed as the properly certified election results could have signifi- cant consequences for the election contest.12 12 Moreover, if this Court rules that election standards-- including the standards for assessing valid ballots--promul- gated after November 7 are not "conclusive" under § 5, the Florida courts in the election challenge will not accept Vice President Gore's newly developed "dimpled" ballot standard as a permissible basis for determining proper certification of presidential electors. Vice President Gore also claims in his election con- test that the Elections Canvassing Commission should have included the tabulation of ballot changes manually recounted in Palm Beach County by 5:00 p.m. on No- vember 26 (or, alternatively, should have extended the deadline still further). Similarly, the Vice President ar- gues that Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board abused its discretion by not conducting a partial recount of votes for the November 26 deadline. Both these claims will be rendered invalid if the state election officials are free to enforce, as the proper deadline under federal law, the statutory deadline previously established by the Florida legislature. Perhaps the most significant consequence of the Court's ruling for petitioner would be to clarify the gov- erning federal law standards and thereby forestall an im- pending constitutional crisis. As it currently stands, an election contest is proceeding, and the matter is before the Florida courts. If this Court holds, under 3 U.S.C. § 5, that an exercise of "equitable powers" to alter exist- ing statutory standards is an impermissible change in the law, and that judicial amendment of statutory standards enacted by the legislature is contrary to Article II, § 1's grant of plenary authority to state legislatures, the pros- pect of subsequent judicial amendment--and of dualing slates of electors mandated by dualing branches of Flor- ida's government--is substantially diminished. Nor does the fact that Congress and the Florida Leg- islature have other means of remedying state judicial violations of U.S. Const. art. II, §1, cl. 2, and 3 U.S.C. § 5 preclude this Court from prescribing the proper rem- edy.13 To be sure, what the Florida Supreme Court did 13 Under 3 U.S.C. § 2, the Florida Legislature has the au- thority to direct the "manner" of appointing electors when the State "has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law." When there is a controversy over the appointment of electors and the State fails to make a "final determination" of in this case was to usurp the prerogatives of the Florida legislature, and the legislature is constitutionally and statutorily empowered to respond by appointing electors or otherwise legislating with regard to the manner of ap- pointment. U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 2; 3 U.S.C. § 2. By acting now to reject the Florida Supreme Court's unwarranted intrusion into the regulation of the manner of appointing electors, this Court will eliminate the po- tential for a constitutional crisis arising out of an un- seemly conflict among Florida's legislative and judicial branches regarding the appointment of electors. In McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1 (1892), more- over, the Court entertained a challenge to a Michigan statute authorizing the appointment of electors through district, rather than statewide, elections. Michigan's Secretary of State argued that given the role of Con- gress, as well as certain state executive officers, in de- termining election results, disputes regarding the ap- pointment of electors were not subject to judicial review and remedies. Id. at 23. The Court squarely rejected that argument, concluding that the validity of Michi- its electors pursuant to 3 U.S.C. § 5, the legislature plainly possesses the authority to resolve that dilemma under § 2. Thus, § 2 and § 5 are complementary parts of Title 3's framework for regulating the appointment of electors. Sec- tion 5 gives the State an opportunity to resolve any "contro- versy" or "contest" over electors if it does so in accordance with statutes enacted prior to the election, provided that a fi- nal determination pursuant to such statutes is reached "at least six days before the time fixed for the meeting of the electors." 3 U.S.C. § 5. In contrast, § 2 contemplates that, if necessary, the legislature will prescribe the "manner" of ap- pointing electors following the election. Accordingly, § 2 recognizes the state legislature's power to protect its constitu- tional prerogatives over the appointment of electors in the event that, inter alia, its pre-election statutory scheme is sub- verted or otherwise fails to produce a conclusive choice un- der § 5.gan's method of appointment raised "a judicial ques- tion," subject to judicial orders. Id. at 24. Similarly, in Foster v. Love, 522 U.S. 67 (1997), the Court enforced a private right of action against Louisi- ana's primary election system under 2 U.S.C. § 7, which prescribes a uniform day for the election of Senators and Representatives. Although the question apparently was not raised in that case, it is important to note that Article I, Section 5 provides that "[e]ach House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own Members." U.S. CONST. art. I, § 5, cl. 1. Thus, if Louisiana's election scheme violated federal require- ments for the election of Senators and Representatives, each House presumably could have enforced that re- quirement in the context of judging "the Elections" of its members. That fact, however, did not prevent this Court from fashioning an appropriate judicial remedy. Congress enacted 3 U.S.C. § 5 to protect the strong national interest in having disputes over electors re- solved through pre-established rules, thereby ensuring finality and fairness to the resolution of such inherently political contests and to avoid the kind of contentious, chaotic and standardless process that has characterized the Florida situation during the three weeks since No- vember 7. That Congress retains the right to count the returns of the electoral college to resolve such disputes where necessary does not protect the same important federal rights and interests that Congress sought to pro- tect through § 5. Cf. Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417, 430 (1998). II. The Florida Supreme Court's Decision Vi o- lates Ar ticle II Of The Constitution Of The United States In addition to being irreconcilable with the require- ments of 3 U.S.C. §5, the Florida Supreme Court's de- cision violates Article II of the Constitution, which ex- pressly invests state legislatures with the power to de-termine the manner in which presidential electors are appointed. As this Court has recognized, the Constitu- tion "leaves it to the legislature exclusively to define the method of effecting the object" of appointing electors. McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1, 27 (1892) (emphasis added). In the absence of clear and express delegation of that power by the state legislature to a coordinate branch of state government, the Constitution forbids the exercise of such power by any branch other than the leg- islature. In Florida, the legislature manifestly did not grant the authority to adjust deadlines for election re- turns to organs of the Florida judiciary. Rather, it set forth a precise statutory scheme to govern the appoint- ment of presidential electors. The Florida Supreme Court's extensive and unauthorized revision of that scheme was unconstitutional. A. The Framers Vested The Authority To Determine The Manner For The Ap- pointment Of Presidential Electors In The State Legislatures In constructing the new national government, the Framers were confronted with the problem of how its of- ficials would be chosen. They settled on three separate schemes. The Members of the House of Representatives would be elected "by the People of the several States." U.S. CONST. art. I, §2, cl. 1. The Senators would be "chosen by the Legislature" of each State. U.S. CONST. art. I, §3, cl. 1.14 As for the President and Vice Presi- dent, the Framers devised a new system of indirect elec- tion that has become known as the Electoral College. See U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1 & amend. XII. The Electoral College was the product of consider- able debate and compromise at the Convention. The 14 This mode of selection was later changed to provide for direct popular election of Senators. U.S. CONST. amend. XVII.Framers ultimately settled on a system of electors, who would be appointed from each State and who, in turn, would vote for the President and Vice President. See The Federalist No. 68 (Hamilton). This approach was adopted to minimize "the danger of intrigue & faction." 2 The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 500 (Max Farrand, ed. 1966) ("Farrand") (floor remarks of Gouverneur Morris). The most significant issue to be resolved was how the electors themselves would be chosen. Some of the delegates argued for popular election, while others sought to vest the authority to appoint electors in either the executive or the legislative branches of the several States. In light of the length and passion of the debates over the mode of selecting the President, it is notable that not a single delegate to the Convention suggested that the power to determine the manner of appointing electors be vested in the state courts. As James Madison said on the floor, "[t]he State Judiciarys had not & he presumed wd. not be proposed as a proper source of ap- pointment." 2 Farrand 110. In the end, the Convention resolved to instill the state legislatures with the power to determine the man- ner of appointing electors. As ratified, the Constitution provided that "[e]ach State shall appoint [electors] in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct." U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 2 (emphasis added). As this Court has recognized, "[t]he final result seems to have reconciled contrariety of views by leaving it to the state legislatures to appoint directly by joint ballot or concur- rent separate action, or through popular election by dis- tricts or by general ticket, or as otherwise might be di- rected." McPherson, 146 U.S. at 28; see also Ray v. Blair, 343 U.S. 214, 224 n.11 (1952) ("Discussion in the Constitutional Conve ntion as to the manner of election of the President resulted in the arrangement by which presidential electors were chosen by the state as its legis- lature might direct").15 In the early days of the Republic, several state legis- latures chose electors directly, without conducting a vote of the citizenry. The constitutionality of this practice was quickly settled:When a bill to regulate presidential elections was before the First Congress, Representative Giles argued that by prescribing that electors should be chosen "in such Manner as the Legis- lature .. . may direct" the Constitution implied that the legislatures were not permitted to make the choice themselves; electors were to be cho- sen by the people. Giles was immediately cor- rected from both ends of the political spectrum. The power was "left discretionary with the state Legislatures," said Jackson of Georgia--as Goodhue of Massachusetts added, "by the ex- press words of the Constitution."Currie, The Constitution in Congress 138 n.60 (citations omitted). "The states took advantage of the latitude thus afforded them to employ a wide variety of methods for choosing electors." Ibid.; see generally McPherson, 146 U.S. at 28-35 (cataloguing various methods by which States have chosen electors).16 15 Alexander Hamilton explained that the Electoral College was designed "to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder." THE FEDERALIST No. 68, at 411 (Alex- ander Hamilton) (Clinton Rossiter ed., 1961). The goal was to ensure that the President be elected in the absence of "heats and ferments," "sinister bias," or "corruption." Id. at 412. 16 The wide variety of procedures that have been employed by state legislatures over time demonstrates that the Article II structure is fully consistent with principles of federalism. At the same time, however, "the provisions governing elections B. In The Absence Of Express Legislative Direction, The State Executive And Judi- cial Branches Are Constitutionally Pro- hibited From Engrafting Material Changes Onto The Manner Of Appoint- ing Presidential Electors The words "in such Manner as the Legislature .. . may direct" in Article II establish a federally mandated separation of powers between the state legislature and other branches of state government in the context of choosing presidential electors. "[T]he insertion of those words," this Court has explained, "operate[d] as a limi- tation upon the State in respect of any attempt to cir- cumscribe the legislative power." McPherson, 146 U.S. at 25. The Florida legislature has thus been granted, by the Constitution itself, plenary authority to regulate the manner of appointment of presidential electors: "The appointment of these electors is thus placed absolutely and wholly with the legislatures of the several States." Id. at 34-35 (quoting Senate Rep. 1st Sess. 43 Cong. No. 395 (Sen. Morton)); see also State ex rel. Beeson v. Marsh, 34 N.W.2d 279, 285 (Neb. 1948) ("Article II, section 1, of the Constitution of the United States .. . leaves to the Legislature of the state the manner of de- termining how Each State' shall appoint its presidential electors. It is a matter within the control of the state Legislature."); McClendon v. Slater, 554 P.2d 774, 777 (Okla. 1976) ("the Legislature has the duty to direct the manner of choosing presidential electors"). reveal the Framers' understanding that powers over the elec- tion of federal officers had to be delegated to, rather than re- served by, the States." U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 805 (1995). The States have been given a role in this most national of elections, but that role is not (as re- spondents have suggested) exclusive of any federal interest. To the contrary, as shown above, the federal interests in presidential elections are paramount and pervasive. The reason that the Framers committed the manner of appointing electors to the legislatures of the several States was that the legislative branch of government, unlike the executive or the judicial, is representative of the will of the people. This Court has explained that legislature "was not a term of uncertain meaning when incorporated into the Constitution. What it meant when adopted it still means for the purpose of interpretation. A Legislature was then the representative body which made the laws of the people." Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221, 227 (1920); see also McPherson, 146 U.S. at 27 (Article II "recognizes that the people act through their representatives in the legislature, and leaves it to the leg- islature exclusively to define the method of effecting the object"). The Framers expected that choices regarding the manner of appointing presidential electors wo uld be made by such a representative body. It is significant that the Framers specifically identi- fied the state legislatures as the repositories of the power to determine the manner of appointing presidential elec- tors. Several provisions of the Constitution assign fed- eral authority or responsibility to the several States. Such authority is sometimes vested in the States qua States.17 A number of other constitutional provisions identify with precision the state institution that is charged with exercising particular duties integral to the functioning of the federal government. For example, various constitutional provisions specify that the state 17 See, e.g., U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 16 ("reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress"); id. art. I, § 10, cl. 2 ("No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be abso- lutely necessary for executing its inspection Laws . . . .").executive is to perform duties.18 Many single out state legislatures as the appropriate agents for exercising fed- eral power, often subject to explicit qualifications or res- ervations of power in Congress.19 At least one provi- sion, the Supremacy Clause, singles out state judges for the assignment of federal responsibilities.20 The Consti- tution's reliance on particular state institutions under such provisions is so carefully crafted that at least one provision, the Guarantee Clause, specifies that the United States can intervene to protect States "against domestic Violence" "on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be con- vened)." U.S. CONST. art. IV, § 4. In light of the Constitution's precise distinctions among state legislative, executive, and judicial powers, the Founders' decision to vest specific authority in state legislatures must be understood to be exclusive of state 18 See, e.g., U.S. CONST. art. I, § 2, cl. 4 ("When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies."); id. art. IV, § 2, cl. 2 (requiring States to extra- dite persons charged with treason "on Demand of the execu- tive Authority of the State from which he fled"). 19 See, e.g., U.S. CONST. art. I, § 4, cl. 1 ("The Times, Places, and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Leg- islature thereof; but Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations . . . ."); id. art. V (amendment may be proposed "on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States"); id. (constitutional amendments become effective when ratified "by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by Congress"). 20 See U.S. CONST. art. VI, cl. 2 ("[T]he Judges in every State shall be bound [by the Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States], any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.").executive or judicial power to prescribe the "Manner" of appointing electors. See, e.g., Russello v. United States, 464 U.S. 16, 23 (1983); McPherson, 146 U.S. at 27. Thus, while the Constitution does not generally require States to observe the separation of powers principles that inhere in our federal constitutional structure, States must provide for the manner of appointment of electors through the legislative process rather than by resort to the executive or judicial branches of their respective governments. Cf. Thornton, 514 U.S. at 804 ("the con- text of federal elections provides one of the few areas in which the Constitution expressly requires action by the States"). The Florida legislature could have delegated to state courts some authority over the manner appointing elec- tors. See McPherson, 146 U.S. at 34-35 ("it is, no doubt, competent for the legislature to authorize the governor, or the Supreme Court of the State, or any other agent of its will, to appoint these electors") (em- phasis added). But any such delegation must be both clear and explicit. Because the power to determine the manner of appointing electors is vested by the Constitu- tion itself in the state legislature--and only in the state legislature--it cannot be presumed to have been dele- gated sub silentio, nor can another branch arrogate it to itself without the legislature's express approval. C. The Florida Supreme Court Has Not Been Granted Authority To Determine The Manner Of Appointing Presidential Electors In Florida, the legislature has directed that the State's presidential electors be appointed in accordance with the results of a popular election. See Fla. Stat. § 103.011. The Florida legislature has expressly assigned the task of certifying the results of that election to the Department of State, see id., and the duty to make and sign the certificates of election for presidential electors to the Elections Canvassing Commission. See Fla. Stat. § 102.121. Moreover, Florida law makes clear that counties must certify election results by 5:00 p.m. on November 14. See Fla. Stat. §§ 102.111(1), 102.112(1). The members of the Elections Canvassing Commis- sion--the executive branch entity the legislature has charged with the obligation (or discretion) to certify the results "as soon as the official results are compiled from all counties," § 102.111--have repeatedly expressed their intention to comply with the statutory deadline of November 14 and to appoint electors based on the elec- tion returns submitted by that date. That decision would be consistent with the "manner" the Florida legislature has directed for the appointment of electors. The state supreme court, however, enjoined the Elections Canvassing Commission from certifying the results under the statutory schedule, and has invented an entirely new deadline that has no basis in any statute or other legislative enactment. Because the Constitution specifically assigns to state legislatures the power to di- rect the manner of appointing presidential electors, how- ever, the court was constrained to follow the statutory scheme established by the Florida legislature. It mani- festly failed to do so.21 The Florida Supreme Court made clear that it felt no obligation to adhere to the statutes applicable to the elec- 21 These issues involve, to a certain extent, the examination of Florida state statutes. Because this inquiry is inextricably bound with the federal question of whether the Florida Su- preme Court's order was unconstitutional under Article II, this Court may conduct an independent review of the state- law bases asserted in defense of the court's action. See, e.g., Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. 304, 357-58 (1816) (re- versing state court's title determination under state law, where necessary to proper construction and application of treaty); St. Martin Evangelical Lutheran Church v. South Dakota, 451 U.S. 772, 780 n.9 (1981).tion of presidential electors. See, e.g., Pet. App. 8a (re- jecting "a hyper-technical reliance upon statutory provi- sions"); id. at 31a ("Technical statutory requirements must not be exalted over the substance of this right [of the citizens to vote]"); id. at 36a ("the will of the elec- tors supersedes any technical statutory requirements"). Whether or not that approach was correct as a matter of Florida law, the importance of the court's dismissive at- titude toward the pronouncements of the legislature is that it demonstrates the court's failure to appreciate the restrictions imposed by Article II and the exclusivity of legislative power in regard to the manner of appointing presidential electors. In light of the court's manifest willingness to depart from and reorder the statutory scheme in order to fulfill its vision of "the will of the people" (Pet. App. 8a), it is unsurprising that the court's decision turns the govern- ing statutes on their head. With respect to the deadline for certifying election returns, for example, Florida law unambiguously provides that county returns "must be filed by 5 p.m. on the 7th day following the . . . general election." Fla. Stat. § 102.112(1). Even the court below acknowledged that "the deadline set forth in section 102.111(1), Florida Statutes (2000), requir[es] that all county returns be certified by 5:00 p.m. on the seventh day after an election." Pet. App. 4a. The court con- cluded, however, that it would "[a]llo[w] the manual re- counts to proceed in an expeditious manner, rather than impos[e] an arbitrary seven-day deadline." Id. at 32a (emphasis added). Of course, it was not the court that would have been "impos[ing]" the deadline; that dead- line was established by preexisting statutory law as an integral part of a carefully balanced legislative program and timetable for counting ballots and resolving dis- putes. Regardless of the wisdom of the court's decision to rewrite the statutory deadline, it is plain that the court substituted its judgment for that of the legislature. Al- though the Constitution may permit state courts to take such action as applied to the elections of state officials, Article II precludes such judicial lawmaking in the con- text of appointing presidential electors. Lest there be any doubt as to the legislative nature of the decision below, the court also adopted an entirely new, and utterly arbitrary, deadline for the submission of election returns. The court acknowledged that it was not basing this decision on any statutory provision. Pet. App. 37a-38a ("we must invoke the equitable powers of this Court to fashion a remedy that will allow a fair and expeditious resolution of the questions presented here"). Eschewing the "arbitrary" November 14 deadline estab- lished in advance by the legislature, the court imposed its own deadline of November 26 for the submission of county returns--a date vastly more arbitrary than the statutory deadline because the legislature's deadline was part of a carefully crafted system and timetable for pro- tests, recounts, contests and certification. The court plucked out one date and changed it without any appar- ent regard for the effect of its decision on the balance of the carefully wrought legislative plan. Whether such an order is within the equitable powers of a Florida court in the ordinary course has no bearing on this case. Rather, it is clear that the court below reached out to affect the "manner" of appointing presidential electors by chang- ing the deadline for the submission of vote tallies, and thereby arrogated to itself a power that the Constitution has instilled only in the state legislature. The deadline for certifying election results indis- putably is encompassed within the "manner" of appoint- ing electors vested by the Constitution in the state legis- latures. See Parsons v. Ryan, 60 P.2d 910, 912 (Kan. 1936); McClendon v. Slater, 554 P.2d 774, 776-77 (Okla. 1976). Each State--and, often, the political sub- divisions within the States--conduct elections in differ- ent ways. Regardless of the voting mechanism, how- ever, the need for finality dictates that a deadline be set for certifying the returns. The Florida legislature has es- tablished precisely such a deadline: 5:00 p.m. on the 7thday following the election. As noted above, that dead- line is tied to other procedures and deadlines and ulti- mately to the certification and appointment of the elec- tors. The Florida Supreme Court did not even attempt to rest its exercise of judicial power over the manner of ap- pointing electors on any statute or other delegation of such power to it by the legislature. Instead, the court re- peatedly invoked the Florida constitution as "[t]he abid- ing principle governing all election law in Florida." Pet. App. 14a; see also, e.g., id. at 30a. While that might well be an acceptable source of law for an election of a state official, it cannot suffice with respect to the ap- pointment of presidential electors. As this Court has ex- plained, "[t]his power [to determine the manner of ap- pointing electors] is conferred upon the legislatures of the States by the Constitution of the United States, and cannot be taken from them or modified by their State constitutions." McPherson, 146 U.S. at 35 (emphasis added). The Florida Supreme Court's decision, which disregards this principle, cannot be reconciled with the framework imposed on the States by Article II. The particular provisions of the state constitution on which the Florida Supreme Court relied highlight the federal constitutional error in its analysis. The court stressed that "[t]he right of suffrage is the preeminent right contained in the [state] Declaration of Rights," and asserted that "[t]o the extent that the Legislature may enact laws regulating the electoral process, those laws are valid only if they impose no unreasonable or unnec- essary' restraints on the right of suffrage." Pet. App. 29a-30a. In light of this construction, the court held that the Elections Canvassing Commission could not reject untimely returns. Id. at 31a-32a. But, as the early prac- tice demonstrates (and this Court's decision in McPher- son confirms), there is no "right of suffrage" under the federal Constitution in the context of selecting presiden- tial electors. The state legislatures may make such ap-pointments themselves, without conducting any election whatsoever. Indeed, Florida itself did so in 1868. It thus makes no difference to the constitutional analysis whether the Florida Supreme Court's decision to preclude the Secretary of State from certifying the election on November 14, or to establish a new certifica- tion deadline of November 26, was mandated or inspired by the state constitution. In the absence of an express delegation from the legislature, the court was precluded from issuing any directive not founded in preexisting law that could affect the manner of appointing presiden- tial electors. The court's order in this case clearly had that effect. It is, therefore, unconstitutional.22 D. As A Result Of Its Unconstitutional Arrogation Of Power, The Florida Supreme Court's Decision Is A Nullity This Court has never before confronted the situation in which a state court exerted authority expressly with- held from it by Article II of our Constitution, and thus has not had the opportunity to consider the correct rem- edy for such an act. Two related lines of precedent indi- cate, however, that the proper remedy for the Florida Supreme Court's violation of Article II is nullification of its attempt to interfere in the manner in which Florida's electors are appointed. 22 Contrary to the Gore respondents' suggestion, enforcing Article II in this case would not lead to the "federalization" of all state-court decisions in the election context. See Gore Opp. 17. In some cases, there might be legitimate questions of state law arising from the implementation of a legislatively authorized scheme of appointing electors. This case, how- ever, does not even present a close call. The court below strayed so far from the framework established by the Florida legislature that its unconstitutional exercise of authority over the electoral process is patent.First, the Court has long held that "the Constitution and constitutional laws of the [United States are] the su- preme law of the land; and, when they conflict with the laws of the States, they are of paramount authority and obligation." Ex Parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371, 399 (1879); see also Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717, 744 (1974). A state law that conflicts with the Constitution is void. E.g., Gunn v. Barry, 82 U.S. 610, 623-24 (1872). As discussed above, the Florida Supreme Court's decision to waive the statutory deadlines for cer- tifying the election results, and to impose a deadline of its own invention, amounts to new rules of law. The court was without constitutional authority to announce such rules, however, because Article II vests exclusive authority over such matters in the Florida legislature. As a result, the Florida Supreme Court's efforts at judi- cial legislation are void. "An unconstitutional law is void, and is as no law." Siebold, 100 U.S. at 376; see also Reynoldsville Casket Co. v. Hyde, 514 U.S. 749, 759-60 (1995) (Scalia, J., concurring). Second, it is well-established that an act by a state official in violation of duties or obligations imposed by the Constitution is ultra vires and, thus, void. See Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 159-60 (1908). "The Con- stitution and laws of the United States are the supreme law of the land, and to these every citizen of every State owes obedience, whether in his individual or official ca- pacity." Siebold, 100 U.S. at 392. Because the Consti- tution vests exclusive authority over the manner of ap- pointing electors in the legislature, and because that au- thority has not been delegated by the Florida legislature to the judiciary, the state supreme court's intrusion into the electoral process was ultra vires. Cf. Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 523 U.S. 83, 101-02 (1998) ("For a court to pronounce upon the meaning or the constitutionality of a state or federal law when it has no jurisdiction to do so is, by very definition, for a court to act ultra vires"). The supreme court's decision, there- fore, should be vacated and given no force or effect. See, e.g., California v. Superior Court, 482 U.S. 400, 412 (1987) (reversing without remand California Su- preme Court decision in contrave ntion of the Extradition Act, which implements the Extradition Clause of Article IV). Vacatur of the decision below would confirm that the Secretary of State and the Elections Canvassing Commission have the authority--expressly delegated to them by the legislature--to certify the results of the election based on returns received by the statutory dead- line of November 14. And, because the state supreme court's injunction precluding the responsible executive branch officials from doing so vi olated the Constitution and is, therefore, a legal nullity, those officers may exer- cise their discretion to certify the election nunc pro tunc to that date. If this Court vacates the judgment below and the Elections Canvassing Commission takes such action, some of the recently filed election challenges to the election results may be mooted.23 In any event, en- forcing the constitutional structure in this case will im- bue this election with the finality that the carefully wrought federal system was meant to secure.
CONCLUSIONThe judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida should be vacated. Respectfully submitted. 23 For example, the Vice President has complained that the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board improperly stopped its manual recount after the state supreme court announced its November 26 certification deadline. But the Miami-Dade recount had not even begun until after the statutory deadline had expired on November 14, and the Supreme Court of Florida opened the door to such a recount on November 17.MICHAEL A. CARVIN THEODORE B. OLSON COOPER, CARVIN & Counsel of Record ROSENTHAL, P.L.L.C. TERENCE P. ROSS 1500 K Street, N.W. DOUGLAS R. COX Suite 200 THOMAS G. HUNGAR Washington, D.C. 20005 MARK A. PERRY (202) 220-9600 GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER LLP 1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.BARRY RICHARD Washington, D.C. 20036 GREENBERG TRAURIG, P.A. (202) 955-8500 101 East College Avenue Post Office Drawer 1838 BENJAMIN L. GINSBERG Tallahassee, FL 32302 PATTON BOGGS LLP (850) 222-6891 2550 M Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20037 GEORGE J. TERWILLIGER III (202) 457-6000 TIMOTHY E. FLANIGAN MARCOS D. JIMÉNEZ JOHN F. MANNINGWHITE & CASE LLP 435 W. 116th StreetFirst Union Financial Center New York, N.Y. 10027200 South Biscayne Blvd. Miami, Florida 33131 WILLIAM K. KELLEY(305) 371-2700 Notre Dame Law School Notre Dame, Indiana 46556 BRADFORD R. CLARK 2000 H Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20052
Counsel for PetitionerNovember 28, 2000