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Jewish World Review Dec. 13, 2000/ 16 Kislev 5761

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Court has Supreme authority --
LET US NOW PRAISE famous men - those oft-berated dead white men of European descent who had the wisdom, foresight and intellectual constitution to create a Supreme Court as part of a system of government that permits us to survive in spite of ourselves.

As usual throughout these post-election days of legal niceties and judicial minutiae, I'm forced by deadlines to write in advance of several critical decisions slated for this week. Indeed, by now the president-elect may be known.

Were I a betting sort, I'd figure on George W. Bush to be the winner, but I'm no gambler. Besides, if this election has taught us anything, it is, as Dorothy famously quipped in "The Wizard of Oz," that "things certainly do change quickly around here."

Regardless of who won - or whether a recount is now in progress - we should be grateful that the final word comes from the U.S. Supreme Court.

I'm not qualified to argue the legal points or even to question, as lawyers have, whether this election contest correctly was a state legislative or a federal constitutional issue.

I will suggest for the sake of gamesmanship that it looked like a constitutional issue; it walked like a constitutional issue; it smelled like a constitutional issue. But what do I and 99.99 percent of this country's citizens know?

What I do know is that taking the ultimate national question to the ultimate national court was the best result we could hope for following weeks of partisan bickering, questionable legal maneuvering and even dubious official results, from the Florida State Supreme Court on down to local election canvassing boards.

Barring an appeal to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions, to borrow from our Declaration of Independence, this is the best we can do. In secular matters, there is no higher authority than the U.S. Supreme Court: The justices are presumptively the best legal minds in the country; they were hired for these purposes; their word is final. They, in fact, do rule.

In such a divisively partisan context - and regarding a question of this magnitude - we might be relieved that they do. Though we may disagree individually with the outcome, we can feel confident that we've arrived at genuine finality.

And though we might regret that we ever involved the courts at all, we're now beyond any useful application of hindsight. But let's do, once and for all, put to rest the bad-boy spin that it's all Dubya's fault. As Al Gore's campaign has pointed out continuously, in the near-sniveling whine of the class tattletale ("He started it"), Bush filed the first lawsuit.

Yes, he did, but what else could he do when the Gore campaign initially requested that ballots be recounted only in certain preferential counties? Basically, Bush had three choices: (1) Demand a recount in all counties, though, intuitively, winners don't ask for recounts; (2) Do nothing; (3) Go to court.

It was incumbent on the challenger, not the declared winner, to insist on a fair recount, which Gore declined to do. So began the stream of legal challenges that landed us in the nation's highest court, where Americans have every reason to feel comfortable.

The legitimacy that seemed likely to elude us in this election will be insured by the justices' majority ruling. Whoever wins can defend himself against all attackers, but let's hope there are none. The final dispensation of this election should make Americans feel more unified than ever given our shared equity in the investment our nation's inventors made more than 200 years ago.

This election has proven unequivocally that the machinery of our government works, that it can act quickly and dispositively. Absent the riots, coups or civil wars such electoral disagreements might have spawned in lesser nations, Americans ought to feel secure and celebrate that security with a renewed commitment to unity.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


12/06/00: Legal relief: Attorneys in Florida court are welcome shift
12/04/00: When rules become flexible, children misbehave
11/29/00: Hard to forgive Dems' divisiveness
11/23/00: The answers aren't so complicated
11/21/00: The devil -- or is it really Nurse Ratchet? -- in Mr. Gore
11/16/00:In the end, the winner may be loser
11/13/00: Eliminate popular vote -- at least in Palm Beach County
11/07/00: Lesser of 2 evils? It's more like the lesser of 2 lies
11/02/00: Latest Jones' saga exposes a big irony
10/31/00: Hate-crime legislation and anti-Bush ad are flawed
10/26/00: Taking it to the streets
10/23/00: Headlines blur fiasco of family
10/13/00: Forget polls: Bush passes turtle test
10/06/00: Feminism: A cup that's half full?
10/04/00: Election-year reality check: Abortion is here to stay
09/29/00: For Gore and Hollywood, the mirror has two faces
09/26/00: Oprahfication of presidential political: It's all about feelings
09/19/00: It's not subliminal: Hypocrisy of moral outrage is obvious
09/15/00: So wear, oh wear, are we headed?
09/11/00: Do Steinem's wedding bells sound feminist death knells?
09/08/00: Grounded in her fears about flying
08/31/00: Dudettes that don't
08/29/00: AlGore wants to be his own man -- does he know who that is?
08/21/00: Dems manufacture emotions at convention
08/17/00: Hollywood divine? AlGore is miscast
08/08/00:Outreach: Good strategy and long-run policy
08/04/00: A sharp look back at the Vietnam War
08/01/00: Bush's choice of grown-up Cheney is a stroke of genius
07/24/00: Fired up and grossed out over stupid Canadians
07/20/00: Lack of judgment --- our critical flaw
07/18/00: 'Progress' for women often a step back
07/11/00: School essay watchdogs cannibalize our children
07/06/00: Youths fear marriage --- blame boomers
06/28/00: Eminem might just have a point
06/21/00: Bridging the day-care divide
06/15/00: N.Y. baby case ends up with multiracial scrambled eggs
05/31/00: The war only time wins
05/25/00: The opposite of sex
05/18/00: World War II gave us our true heroes
05/11/00: Boy Crazy! stacks deck against guys
05/09/00: Finding out where the boys are
05/05/00: A born Ms. Leader -- Barbie for prez
04/25/00: From here to paternity
04/14/00: Boys should be boys, not viewed as criminals in training
04/11/00: Oh, for a standard of what is socially, morally acceptable
04/06/00: Womyn's Contempt for Commitment --- and the bastards it creates
04/04/00: Sue-happy American society is out of control
03/30/00: Duct-taped baby serves as warning
03/28/00: Stay-home parents know that their kids need them
03/24/00: No 'Great Expectations' when schools shun the classics
03/21/00: It's common sense to restrict Internet usage in libraries
03/17/00: You want to be just a mom? For shame!
03/14/00: Colonoscopy: Important, but bad TV
03/10/00: I made a mistake about trigger-locks
03/08/00: After this school shooting, no easy target for our contempt
03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
02/28/00: Nasty politics? Americans like it down, dirty
02/14/00: College testing via Lego-building -- yeah, right
02/02/00: Bubba should spare us phony love theatrics
01/26/00: What sets off Those Who Speak for Women
01/13/00: Fools in love: Premarital counseling could help school kids
01/11/00: Who funds these studies!?
12/29/99: Grandparents' rights impinge on family autonomy
12/13/99: When did fathers become fair game?
12/09/99: Don't be stupid about at-risk kids
12/07/99: Pokemon is no substitute for a father
12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
11/30/99: Baby-killer's story has less-than-Precious ending
11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
10/19/99: The deadbeat dad is less a scoundrel than an object of pity
10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
09/16/99: Commentary from kids sheds no light on day-care debate
09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

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