JUSTICE STEVENS, with whom JUSTICE GINSBURG AND JUSTICE BREYER join, dissenting.
What must underlie petitioners’ entire federal assault on the Florida election procedures is an unstated lack of confidence in the impartiality and capacity of the state judges who would make the critical decisions if the vote count were to proceed. Otherwise, their position is wholly without merit. The endorsement of that position by the majority of this Court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land. It is confidence in the men and women who admin-ister the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today’s decision. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law. I respectfully dissent.
In case it isn’t clear what Supreme Court Justice Stephens is saying, let me explain it:
He’s saying that the Supreme Court, knowing full well that it had no jurisdiction in the election at all, nevertheless stepped into the process and took it over just long enough for the clock to run out for Al Gore, and then threw the process back to the Florida Supreme Court once the time ran out.
In other words, he’s saying that the Supreme Court stole the election for George W. Bush.