Strategic mistake to go to the Supremes?
gillman at USC.EDU
Mon Nov 27 15:12:05 PST 2000
Does anyone else think that the Bush appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is a
There are roughly three possible outcomes (assuming that Gore's contest
keeps these issues alive):
OPTION ONE: The Supremes overturn the decision of the Florida SC and
reimpose the results in by the mythical 7 day deadline (plus
absentee). Very unlikely (I think almost unimaginable), but would result
in a victory (although an incredibly complicated one, for him and
especially the Court).
OPTION TWO: The Supremes rule that the Florida Supreme Court operated
within the constraints of section 5. This takes away Bush's major PR
argument against the Florida Courts; it puts the imprimatur of the
Republican U.S. Supreme Court on the actions of the Democratic Florida
Court, thus giving a bipartisan cast to the state court's ruling.
OPTION THREE: The Supremes can say that this is a political question for
Congress to decide. I think this has essentially the same significance as
option two (with the added point that the justices turned back his
constitutional challenges to the Florida process). It takes away his
argument that the result was clearly "unlawful" and then forces him to be
explicit about using a political option to trump the legal one.
Don't these latter two options put Bush in a worse position than he would
be in if he bypassed the Court and went directly to the Florida legislature
or the Congress (which would allow him to keep all the rhetoric about
lawlessness without fear of contradiction by the Supremes)? Or in this
game is it most important to pursue all one's options (even if a contrary
decision puts you in a worse position)?
Any game theorists want to set up this game?
USC Political Science
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