The overlooked absentee ballot case
jnoble at DGSYS.COM
Sun Dec 10 17:05:53 PST 2000
The district court order in Harris v Canvassing Comm'n -- holding that the
Florida statute requiring the return of absentee ballots by Election Day
was invalidated by a 1982 federal court order directing the promulgation of
an administrative regulation extending the deadline for 10 days -- is at
The Court reasons that the regulation "was the product of the state executive
branch, the authorized representative of the state in a lawsuit against the
state, enacting a measure to bring the state into compliance with a
federally ordered mandate in a situation where the state legislature
refused to do so." Thus, according to the Court, "the administrative rule
should be considered the equivalent of a federal court order detailing how
a state statute conflicts with a federal statute and setting out what must
be done about it. Thus, it is the statute which must yield when federal
elections are involved." A remarkable analysis in any context, and the
Court does not so much as mention Art. II.1.2.
It is going to be difficult for the Supreme Court to reverse the Fla. S.C.
and uphold this district court decision, and impossible to do so on the
grounds relied upon by the district court.
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