DECEMBER 09, 14:47 EST 
 Editorial Opinion on Fla. Recount 
 By The Associated Press 
 Excerpts from editorials in U.S. newspapers Saturday on the latest developments in the
 contested presidential race: 

 The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. 

 When all the subplots play out, the business of being president begins. The winner will have
 every bit of power he would have had if he had won in a landslide. His future will depend on
 how he uses that power, not on how his enemies patronize him. Bill Clinton, after all, kept
 being president despite an 8-year campaign to delegitimize his election. 

 Philadelphia Daily News 

 With all three well-reasoned decisions yesterday, the Florida courts have given new life to a
 cherished principle that has been battered in this presidential election: that every vote should
 count. ... 

 What we shouldn't live with if we have any concern for democracy is the Florida state
 legislature putting the fix in by sending Bush electors to the U.S. Congress if Gore actually
 turns up the winner. 

 Times Union of Albany, N.Y. 

 The Florida Supreme Court has reaffirmed, albeit by the narrowest of margins, what was a
 sensible ruling all along. This presidential race shouldn't end until manual recounts are
 completed in all of the counties where earlier tallies remain in dispute. 

 Resolution is needed, once more, by the highest court of all. 

 It was one thing for lower-court Judges Nikki Clark and Terry Lewis to declare that the 'full
 and fair expression of the will of the voters' has been made clear in Martin and Seminole
 counties. Other counties must be heard from now. In turn, those results will require
 reaffirmation by a legal authority that's beyond appeal. A concession speech by Mr. Gore
 should not be ruled out. But neither should his campaign, as it wages on in court. 

 The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y. 

 Just when it seemed almost over, the post-election presidential campaign has become more
 uncertain and tumultuous than ever. The 4-3 decision by the Florida Supreme Court gave Al
 Gore's campaign new life, but the court would have done better to order a full statewide hand
 count a couple of weeks ago, when it made its first ruling on this election. ... 

 But the court's decision makes it possible that rival sets of electors will lay claim to Florida's
 votes, leaving the decision to a divided Congress (with Gore the tiebreaker in the new
 Senate), and possibly the final decision being made by Gov. Jeb Bush, the presidential
 candidate's brother (talk of conflict of interest being unlikely to deter either Gore or Jeb
 Bush). 

 The Buffalo (N.Y.) News 

 While the court's ruling doesn't yet settle this election either way, it is a victory for voters. 

 At the heart of the court's decision is the American belief that every vote counts. And that
 includes votes in all 67 Florida counties, not just in the Democratic strongholds the Gore
 campaign had targeted. 

 That's a bedrock principle, one that this newspaper has long supported. ... 

 What emerged from Friday's courtroom drama was a clear statement of the importance of
 voting, made by judges who showed courage in asserting the rule of law despite the impact
 their decision may have on their personal and professional lives. 

 Daily News of New York 

 Yesterday's ruling was a thunderbolt in this stormiest of presidential races. It was, to be sure,
 a victory for Al Gore and for the national plurality of voters who picked him. But much more is
 at stake than the fortunes of one man or one party. This was a triumph for democracy where
 every vote counts. 

 New York Post 

 Whether this attempted hijacking will stand remains to be seen. ... Again, the Florida panel
 has changed the rules in the middle of the game. Which the U.S. high court has specifically
 said cannot properly be done. On the merits, Bush should win. 

 The New York Times 

 A lightning bolt yesterday from a divided Florida Supreme Court gave Vice President Al Gore
 one last chance to come up with the votes that could make him president, and once again
 threw the election into unfamiliar territory. But in acting boldly, the court also acted wisely.
 The carefully reasoned majority opinion ... affirmed the core principle that must guide the
 candidates and the nation in bringing the election to a fair and legitimate resolution. 

 Newsday 

 Al Gore's presidential hopes are still alive and, more important, so is the chance to see
 whether he or George W. Bush deserves Florida's electoral votes. ... 

 Florida's high court ruled for consistency as well as common sense. Now the focus should be
 on counting ballots and determining the will of the voters. ... 

 This way the nation can believe that the candidates were treated fairly and that the right
 man won. 

 The Washington Post 

 Our hope from the beginning has been that the presidential election dispute would end with a
 result that as many members as possible of the losing side would regard as fair. Part of
 fairness plainly includes adherence to the law. Yesterday's decision of the Florida Supreme
 Court is in that sense entitled to deference. ... 

 We nonetheless have grave reservations about the decision both its practicality and the
 likelihood that in the current circumstances it can produce an evenhanded result. We believed
 Al Gore was entitled to his appeal. But we felt that, with legitimacy at stake their own as
 well as that of the election outcome the courts should intervene in the electoral process
 with utmost caution. It is far from clear to us that in this instance that high standard has
 been met. 

 The Bush campaign's decision to appeal, again, to the Supreme Court was a constructive
 step. 

 The Boston Globe 

 COUNT THE VOTES. That should have been the guiding principle in Florida since Nov. 8, but
 too often it was lost as legal teams for George W. Bush and Al Gore pressed contradictory
 suits for partisan advantage. 

 Yesterday, three Florida courts put the focus back where it belongs: on the side of the
 state's voters. 

 In courageously ordering manual recounts of the undervote statewide, the Florida Supreme
 Court said it had had enough of the feverish legal maneuvering by lawyers for Bush to leave
 out thousands of ballots that had never been counted manually. ... 

 The major reason that the recount should go forward is that it is the best way to give
 legitimacy to whoever does win. 

 Bush's effort to run the clock out is conduct unbecoming a president. 

 Boston Herald 

 The Florida Supreme Court has for the second time in as many weeks decided to rewrite the
 law, and in doing so may also be trying to rewrite history. Down the path the court has
 chosen lies delay, chaos and the very real potential for a constitutional crisis. ... 

 The Florida court majority seems to have done its utmost, not merely to throw the election to
 Gore, but to trample on the rights of the state's canvassing boards. ... 

 In doing so the court has set the stage for untold mischief and for the actual theft of this
 election. 

 The Kansas City Star 

 In the wake of Friday's ruling by the Florida Supreme Court ordering manual recounts of
 presidential ballots, there was an explosion of political charges and counter-charges as well
 as a further multiplying of lawsuits, petitions and appeals. ... 

 Florida's already overburdened legal system has been held hostage at virtually every level by
 hundreds of lawyers on both sides. ... 

 Since no one will blink, the legal appeals should go forward. 

 It didn't have to be like this. The 100 million Americans who could have voted, but didn't even
 bother, could have dramatically changed the outcome on Nov. 7. All sorts of other things
 could have occurred, but now we're faced with a contest that will end. Sometime. 

 The Times-Picayune of New Orleans 

 Whatever one thinks of its decision, the Florida Supreme Court's timing could scarcely have
 been worse. ... 

 In effect, the court ordered something akin to what a number of observers, including this
 newspaper, were calling for nearly a month ago: a hand recount not just in large Democratic
 counties like Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, but throughout the state. 

 But the decision comes just four days before the federal deadline to name electors ... 

 The entire case could very well end up before the U.S. Supreme Court again, and that could
 be a blessing. A definitive decision by that court would likely strengthen the perceived
 legitimacy of the next president, whoever he is. 

 The Dallas Morning News 

 Thanks to the interventionist Florida high court, which continues to write election law from
 the bench, the presidential contest remains a muddle

 Gov. George W. Bush said Friday that he will appeal this verdict, and well he should. Among
 other things, the Florida Supreme Court provided no clear standard for how to recount votes.
 ... 

 The U.S. Supreme Court should promptly overturn Florida's ruling for crafting new election
 standards a month after the election. ... 

 Make no mistake here. The Florida Supreme Court sent the White House contest spinning into
 chaos. Even the chief justice of the court disagreed with his colleagues' ruling. The lack of
 certainty within the court should add even further doubt about the ruling's validity. 

 Houston Chronicle 

 Like a desert mirage, the denouement that many had hoped for to the extended presidential
 contest, and perhaps Republican George W. Bush's hope for a ``clean'' victory without
 legislative intervention, evaporated Friday with a divided ruling by the Florida Supreme Court
 ordering manual vote recounting to go forward. ... As with almost every turn of events in this
 national drama, the issues resolved by the court ruling raised as many murky political and
 legal questions as the court answered. And a number of other legal challenges also cloud the
 picture. ... 

 Bush apparently won very narrowly the Nov. 7 election under the rules that existed in
 Florida at the time. 

 Gore has a right to fairly pursue a contest of that result. 

 Somebody is going to be hugely disappointed in the end. 

 The Oregonian of Portland, Ore. 

 Vice President Al Gore's partisans like to argue that we should just count the votes in Florida
 to see who won. We couldn't agree more, but this decision (by the Florida Supreme Court)
 does not do that. It calls for yet another partial count, which is likely to become yet another
 ingredient in the wider national crisis that is brewing. 

 Somehow, we doubt Florida legislators will see the problem (with choosing their own
 electors), so the country probably must look elsewhere for a clear end to this recurring bad
 dream. 

 The best hope for that would seem to be the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Gore case
 appears to be headed. The highest court has a clearer case now than the one it quick-kicked
 back to Florida earlier this week. 

 The Honolulu Advertiser 

 Now it is George Bush's turn to be statesmanlike. ... 

 The best thing both camps can do is step back and let the process take its course, without
 undue drama or excessive hysteria. In the end, a winner will be found, will take office and will
 lead the country for the next four years. ... 

 The race, by any mathematical definition, was a tie. The tie will be resolved in a chaotic,
 lengthy, difficult and confusing way, but it will be resolved. A president will be chosen. ... 

 We will have a president who will serve us all. The ingredient most needed right now is
 patience. 

 The Salt Lake Tribune 

 The Florida Supreme Court has thrown the presidential election into chaos, as if it were not
 already chaotic enough. 

 By ordering a hand recount of the undervote in every Florida county in which such a recount
 has not already occurred, that state's highest court has virtually guaranteed that Florida's
 electors will not be determined by Tuesday, the deadline in federal law. The
 Republican-dominated Florida Legislature will surely intervene on Wednesday ... 

 In short, the Florida Supreme Court has provided a remedy that is no remedy at all. It raises
 more legal questions than it answers, and it cannot promise a result that is any more
 accurate or fair than the mixture of machine and manual recounts that already has certified
 Bush the winner. 

 This is no improvement. 

 Akron Beacon Journal 

 The Florida Supreme Court has justification for including the hand count of Palm Beach and
 requiring Miami-Dade to renew its hand count of contested votes. That could be
 accomplished in days. 

 Would that change the outcome? If it didn't, Al Gore should gracefully give up the fight. 

 If George W. Bush found himself behind? The Republican majorities of the Florida legislature
 appear ready to enter the fray. 

 The Bush camp would certainly pursue its legal options, even to the U.S. Supreme Court.
 Republican majorities in Congress would be poised to act, knowing the Florida governor (yes,
 brother Jeb) would have the last say on the state's electors. Then again, as accurate and
 credible a count as possible would carry its own influence. 

 The Florida Supreme Court should have the final word. 

 The Plain Dealer of Cleveland 

 A bare majority of the Florida Supreme Court Friday decided to go boldly where neither man
 nor law has gone before. That majority's use of jurisprudential hyperdrive in search of a new
 universe of perfect justice risks hurling the state's electoral process into a black hole. ... 

 This recount is almost certainly beyond human endeavor. But impracticality is of no moment
 to the four majority justices. They have determined that the only fair outcome of an election
 held 32 days ago, an election in which all ballots have been counted twice by machine and
 whose results have been certified by the state's elections officer, will come from their
 singularly creative order to probe the electorate's mind. 

 The Des Moines (Iowa) Register 

 Vice President Al Gore's battle for an electoral victory in the state of Florida was taken off life
 support by the Florida Supreme Court Friday. Now it is anyone's guess how this extraordinary
 contest for the White House will play out. ... 

 The nation's long post-election ordeal, in short, is far from over. However it concludes, it is
 not likely to be a pretty sight. That said, however, the republic will survive even this. All that
 is needed is a strong dose of patience for the courts and the state of Florida to work through
 this situation calmly and deliberately and without shrill and hysterical political demonstrations
 from either side. 

 The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer 

 Many commentators are describing the rulings handed down by Florida courts Friday as
 victories for either George W. Bush or Al Gore. In fact, the rulings had this in common: They
 said that ballots legitimately cast should be counted. That puts the outcome of the election
 in the hands of the voters, not the candidates or the courts for now, at least. ... 

 The commentary following the Supreme Court's decision has been fascinating. As usual, the
 TV all-news channels are full of partisan commentators who deride the Florida Supreme Court
 as partisan because it didn't rule to suit them. It's interesting to note that the Florida judges
 are the only ones involved who have sworn to consider the facts and uphold the law. 

 The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C

 The Florida Supreme Court's decision courageous even if made by a bare majority to
 order hand counts of thousands of ballots that machines couldn't decipher boosts the
 chances for a presidential election result all Americans can trust. 

 Whether the justices' 4-3 decision will withstand an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is
 impossible to say. But until that decision was announced yesterday afternoon, the country
 faced the real prospect of seeing its 43rd president chosen on the basis of a narrowly split
 vote total that left out many votes humans can discern even if the machines can't. 

 Denver Rocky Mountain News 

 The Florida Supreme Court could have settled the presidential deadlock with finality Friday,
 but it did not. Instead, it opted for more muddle. 

 Far worse, it virtually ensured an ugly finish to this election saga, quite possibly in Congress
 an ending that guarantees the maximum degree of bitterness, hostility and political mischief
 on the losing side.... 

 The Denver Post 

 The U.S. Supreme Court cannot, and must not, sidestep its responsibility to sort out the
 raging legal and constitutional maelstrom into which yesterday's Florida Supreme Court
 decision plunged the nation. The question of who will be the next president of the United
 States is rapidly moving toward a constitutional stalemate. 

 Florida's election system is in complete disarray. The state's supreme court and the
 legislature appear headed for a full-on constitutional collision; the supreme and circuit courts
 are at odds; and the judiciary is second-guessing local election officials.... 

 The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash

 And we thought the final act was at hand. Al Gore would concede, and America would finally
 have a new president. Now we know better than to predict anything any more about the
 unbelievably protracted, confusing and surprising election of 2000. ... 

 Will the Florida Supreme Court's split decision stand? Who knows? The court's majority
 obviously took great pains this time to ground its decision in Florida election law. But the
 majority's reading of the relevant statutes seemed strained, especially when it argued that
 the new deadline it had set for completing recounts wasn't really a final deadline. ... 

 We remain confident that the nation can withstand the uncertainty and that it will avoid
 destructive chaos. But the next president, whether it be Bush or Gore, may end up ruing the
 day he won the prize.