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Fritz Feds

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Rewire the Ninth Circuit That's what Harvard law prof Einar Elhauge suggests in today's Wall Street Journal (subscription needed).

Here's a little sample:

The Ninth Circuit federal court's decision delaying the California recall elevates a straw-man argument against Bush v. Gore into constitutional principle, and then employs that bogus principle to deny the California electorate its constitutional right to oust its governor.

The straw man is the claim that the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore made it an equal protection violation for different counties to use different ballot-counting methods. Back when it was electorally convenient to them, Democrats lampooned this equal protection theory because it would lead to the absurd conclusion that it was unconstitutional to use punch cards in some counties and not others, which would invalidate just about every election conducted in the last century.

And, the piece concludes with this fun little thought:

The Ninth Circuit appears not to have noticed the irony that, in so holding, it is keeping in office a governor who himself was elected under a system that used punch cards in some counties and not others, and thus must, under its theory, be holding office unconstitutionally. Does this mean Gray Davis cannot be removed from office by a recall election but can by judicial injunction? Or does the court really think that the best way to vindicate a purported right to vote using equal vote-counting technology is to require voters to keep in office a governor elected with unequal vote-counting technology?

UPDATE: Those of you without a subscription to the WSJ can access the full article here.


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