NewsHour: Supreme Showdown – December 12, 2000

MARGARET WARNER: For some analysis of where things stand we turn to two law professors and two journalists: Pam Karlan, an election law specialist at Stanford Law School; John Yoo, of the Boalt Hall Law School at the University of California, Berkeley; Stuart Taylor, legal affairs columnist for the "National Journal"; and Anthony Lewis, a columnist for the "New York Times." Welcome back all. Let’s start with a couple of nuts and bolts. Today is December 12 — the deadline we have been all fixated on. Pam Karlan, what is the status now of Florida’s electors if the Supreme Court doesn’t rule today versus if it does?

PAM KARLAN: Well, I don’t think that it makes much difference – the Supreme Court’s ruling. There is a slate of electors on file. So, if, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court were to reverse the Florida Supreme Court and end the recounts right now, there is a slate of electors on file with the National Archives, and that slate is within the "safe harbor." Anything else that happens takes you beyond the safe harbor and really out to a completely uncharted sea. There is no way there could be a slate pledged to Al Gore that would fit within the safe harbor. And if the Florida legislature votes a slate through tomorrow, that slate too won’t be in the safe harbor so you’re virtually guaranteed if there is a slate for Gore and a slate for Bush, that there will be a contest in Congress.

MARGARET WARNER: John Yoo, how do you see it, the relationship between today’s date and a possible Supreme Court ruling or not?