Nov. 2 could get very messy, indeed.
One of my new favorite blogs, Digby's Blog, has a killer article on just what kind of nightmare people should be prepping for come the November elections. Referring to a piece by Jeffrey Rosen in The New Republic, Digby quotes Rosen:
"It's November 2, and the presidential election looks close in Ohio. An army of lawyers are dispatched by the Bush and Kerry campaigns to scour all 11,614 precincts in the state for any hint of voting irregularities. Within hours, both sides have filed competing suits in state courts challenging the standards for counting provisional, absentee, and military ballots, as well as for the use of different voting machines. Within days, Laurence Tribe and James Baker are filing petitions to the Supreme Court, arguing that Bush v. Gore--the case that decided the 2000 election--compels the justices to intervene. The justices, who once confidently predicted that Bush v. Gore would have no effect on future elections, are horrified. Even the Bush v. Gore dissenters are shocked at the mess the decision has created. After all, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called Bush v. Gore a "one-of-a-kind case" as recently as February 2003 in a speech to San Diego law students, adding optimistically, "I doubt it will ever be cited as precedent by the court on anything."
It's not clear what kind of cocaine Bader Ginsburg has been snorting lately. Considering that the Supreme Court, in a jaw-dropping, unprecedented way, interfered in the outcome of the 2000 presidential election and essentially handed it to Bush, how on earth can she not now assume that every election lawyer in the country is going to play off of that decision? Not be cited as a precedent? That insane decision will exist forever more as nothing but a precedent every time someone doesn't like the outcome of an election.
Rosen gets it exactly right: "The justices, who once confidently predicted that Bush v. Gore would have no effect on future elections, are horrified." Well, they opened that can of worms. Now they're going to have to live with the consequences.
UPDATE: You can read Rosen's entire piece without registration here.