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Former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Wells, Who Opposed Election Recount in 2000, Endorses Joe Biden

Charles Wells, who served as the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court during the 2000 presidential race that his state ultimately decided, endorsed vice president Joe Biden in a letter obtained by CNN over the weekend.

Photo by CHARLIE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images

Ironically, Wells dissented against the Florida Supreme Court’s majority decision to green light the state’s recount in the messy 2000 election, which was later halted by the US Supreme Court before it was completed, thus handing the presidency to Republican George W. Bush, by a mere 537 vote margin over then-vice president Al Gore, a Democrat.

This time around, however, Wells warned of the impending danger that looms if President Donald Trump wins a second term – an outcome that could, as occurred in 2000, be determined by Supreme Court decree.

“I set out my thoughts here because I am compelled to believe that our country, and thus our children and grandchildren, face a grave threat to keeping the kind of representative democracy that we have experienced in our life,” Wells wrote in the letter initially sent to family and friends. “I do not believe that we have had as serious a threat during our lives.”

Only a fast and overwhelming landslide victory for Biden will send Trump packing, he wrote.

“The only way that I can see that this threat can be eliminated is to vote for Biden,” he said. “It will not be enough to just not vote for Trump. Any basis for a contested election can only really be eliminated is by the election not being close.”

In a followup interview on CNN’s New Day on Monday, Wells also shared his concerns over Trump’s recent threats that he would not peacefully relinquish power to Biden if he loses.

“The thing that also bothers me is the statements that there’s not going to be, if Trump loses the election, a peaceful transfer of power,” Wells said. “We are depending upon people voting and those votes being counted expeditiously.”

Just like twenty years ago, this year’s contest in Florida – with 29 Electoral College votes – is expected to be close, and could swing the election either way.

The likelihood of Trump’s third Court appointment – conservative Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett – getting confirmed before the election significantly increases the possibility of a Bush v. Gore repeat, especially if Trump refuses to concede, or if one or both presidential campaigns contest the results.



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