Bush, Gore must turn attention toward task of uniting divided nation

Posted: Thursday, December 14, 2000

Excerpts of editorials following the U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling out more recounts in Florida's contested election and putting Texas Gov. George W. Bush on track to become the nation's 43rd president.

The New York Times:

The United States Supreme Court has brought the presidential election to a conclusion in favor of Gov. George W. Bush, but its decision to bar a recount in Florida comes at considerable cost to the public trust and the tradition of fair elections. Our national history bears the comforting lesson that the American people's confidence in the rule of law and the stability of their institutions will not be damaged in the long run. It is incumbent on citizens and elected officials alike to respect the authority of the ruling and the legitimacy of the new presidency whether or not they agree with the court's legal reasoning. In the short term, Mr. Bush and Vice President Al Gore bear great responsibility for bringing the nation together in spirit if not in immediate political agreement. Mr. Bush needs to be gracious and unifying in victory, and Vice President Gore must master the difficult task of placing the national need for continuity ahead of any bitterness he may feel.

Los Angeles Times:

In its immediate effect, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Tuesday evening would seem to deal a crushing blow to Vice President Al Gore's flickering presidential hopes. But longer term, the extraordinarily bitter set of decisions this case has generated will taint this court with disquieting questions about its distance from the partisan fray. ...

The decision appears to put Gore in a no-win situation, one which Democratic leaders began to acknowledge soon after its release. And with few if any remaining legal options, the pressure on the vice president to concede from within his own party has begun to mount.

But should he concede, Gore will do so believing, as do many Americans, that a full vote count in Florida -- a step this court has now effectively blocked -- was the only fair way to decide this election.

The Arizona Republic:

This has been a remarkable test of our constitutional institutions. While it was difficult, the system worked in very trying circumstances, producing a principled result.

There are even more difficult tests facing our nation, both leaders and citizens.

Choosing a president deeply divided this country. The vote was, in actuality, too close to accurately count. A final determination was made by a 5-4 federal court decision reversing a 4-3 state court decision.

The stability of the future of American democracy, a beacon for the world, requires a peaceful transition. That requires grace from the losers, and humanity from the winners.

Now is a time for acceptance, conciliation and healing.

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