The trip to the MIA site was an experience none of us would ever forget. I thought back over the years to my high school classmates who had died in Vietnam and to the man Id helped when I was in Moscow in 1970, who was searching for information about his missing son. The air jordan 11 high heels Americans working with the Vietnamese crew believed, based on information from local residents, that a missing pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Evert, had crashed there more than thirty years earlier. His now grown children accompanied us to the site. Working knee-deep in mud with the Vietnamese, our soldiers cut the mud into large chunks, took it to a nearby shed, and sifted through it. They had already recovered parts of the plane and a uniform, and were close to having enough for an identification. The work was supervised by an American archaeologist who was himself a Vietnam veteran. He said this was the most rewarding dig in the world. The care and detail of their work was amazing, as were the efforts of the Vietnamese to help. Soon, the Everts found their father. On the way home from Vietnam, I found out that Chuck Ruff, my White House counsel during the impeachment proceeding, had died suddenly. When I landed, I went to see his wife, Sue; Chuck was an extraordinary man who had led our defense team in the Senate with skill and courage. The rest of November was consumed by the Middle East and the Florida recount, which was cut off with thousands of votes still uncounted in three big counties, a result unfair to Gore since it was obvious from the votes that had been thrown out for errors resulting from confusing ballots and flawed punch-card devices that thousands more Floridians had intended to vote for Gore than for Bush. Gore contested the election in court. At the same time, Barak and Arafat were meeting again in the Middle East. It wasnt clear to me whether we were going to win or lose either the battle for Florida or the struggle for peace. On December 5, Hillary went to Capitol Hill for her air jordan 1 high heels initiation as a freshman senator. The night before, I kidded her about going to her first day of Senator School, telling her she had to get a good nights sleep and wear a nice outfit. She was excited about it, and I was really happy for her. Three days later, I traveled to Nebraska, the only state I had not yet visited as President, for a speech at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. It was in effect a valedictory address in the heartland urging continued American leadership in the world beyond our borders. Meanwhile, the Florida Supreme Court ordered the inclusion of more recounted votes in Palm Beach and Dade counties, and the recount of 45,000 more votes according to the standard of Florida law: a ballot was to be counted only if the intent of the voter was clear. Bushs margin was now down to 154 votes. Governor Bush immediately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the recount. Several lawyers told me the Supreme Court wouldnt take the case; the mechanics of elections were a question of state law unless they were used to discriminate against a group of citizens, like racial minorities. Also, it is difficult to get a court-ordered injunction against an otherwise legal action, like an election recount or razing a building when the owner agrees. To do so, a party must show that irreparable harm would result unless the activity is stopped. In a 54 decision, Justice Scalia wrote an astonishingly honest opinion granting the injunction. What was the irreparable harm? Scalia said. That counting the ballots might cast a cloud upon what [Bush] claims to be the legitimacy of his election. Well, he was right about that. If Gore got more votes than Bush in Florida, it would be harder for the Supreme Court to give Bush the presidency anyway. We were having a Christmas reception at the White House that night, and I asked every lawyer who came through the receiving line if he or she had ever heard of such a ruling. No one had. The Court was to hand down another opinion shortly, on the underlying issue of whether the recount itself was constitutional. Now we knew they would kill it 54. I told Hillary that Scalia would never be allowed to write the second opinion; he had been too candid in this one. On December 11, Hillary, Chelsea, and I flew to Ireland, to the land of my ancestors and the scene of so much of the peacemaking I had done. We stopped in Dublin to see Bertie Ahern, then went to Dundalk near the border for a massive rally cheap nike heels uk in a city that was once a hotbed of IRA activity and was now a force for peace. The streets were bright with Christmas lights as the large crowd cheered wildly and sang Danny Boy to me. Seamus Heaney once said of Yeats: His interest was to clear a space in the mind and in the world for the miraculous. I thanked the Irish for filling that space with the miracle of peace. We went to Belfast, where I met with the Northern Irish leaders, including David Trimble, Seamus Mallon, John Hume, and Gerry Adams. Then we went with Tony and Cherie Blair, Bertie Ahern, and George Mitchell to a large meeting of both Catholics and Protestants in the Odyssey Arena. It was still somewhat unusual for them to gather together in Belfast. Some sharp disputes remained involving the new police force and the schedule and method of putting arms beyond use. I asked them to keep working on the problems and remember that the enemies of peace didnt need their approval: All they need is your apathy. I reminded the audience that the Good Friday accord had given heart to peacemakers the world over, and cited the just announced agreement ending the bloody conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia that the United States had helped broker. I closed by saying how much I had loved working with them for peace, but the issue is not how I feel; its how your kids are going to live. After the event, my family flew to England to stay with the Blairs at Chequers and listen to Al Gore give his concession speech. The night before, at 10 p.m., the Supreme Court had ruled, 72, that the Florida recount was unconstitutional because there were no uniform standards for defining the clear intent of the voter for purposes of a recount, and therefore different vote counters might count or interpret the same ballots differently. Therefore, the Court said, allowing any of the disputed votes to be counted, no matter how clear the voters intent, would deny equal protection of the law to those whose ballots werent counted. I disagreed strongly with the decision, but I was heartened that Justices Souter and Breyer wanted to send the case back to the Florida Supreme Court to set a standard and proceed with the recount in a hurry. The electoral college was meeting soon. The other five justices in the majority disagreed. By 54, the same five justices who had stopped the vote count three days earlier now said it had to give the election to Bush because under Florida law the recount had to be finished by midnight on that day anyway. It was an appalling decision. A narrow conservative majority that had made a virtual fetish of states rights had now stripped Florida of a clear state function: the right to recount votes the way it always had. The five justices nike heels uk who didnt want the votes counted by any standard claimed to advance equal protection by depriving thousands of people of their constitutional right to have their votes counted even if their intent was crystal clear. They said Bush should be awarded the election because the votes couldnt be counted in the next two hours, when, after already killing three days of recounting, they had delayed issuing the opinion until 10 p.m., to make absolutely sure the recount could not be completed on time. The five-vote majority didnt make any bones about what it was up to: the opinion clearly stated that the ruling could not be used as precedent in future election law cases; its reasoning was limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities. If Gore had been ahead in the vote count and Bush behind, theres not a doubt in my mind that the same Supreme Court would have voted 90 to count the votes. And I would have supported the decision  
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