Temple students had an opportunity to reflect on the controversial 2000 presidential election last Thursday, with a visit from Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince.
The event gathered students and the public in Temple University Ambler’s Bright Hall lounge as Quince told a collection of stories about her experiences with the contentions in Florida, as well as her views on the conditions of American politics.
Quince noted that the debate in Florida was addressed with the unrelenting effort and consideration of the Florida Supreme Court. It was the original decision of the court to include hand recounts in the final tally of votes, and Nov. 26 was determined as the deadline for their completion.
In the end, this decision did not prevail. Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris announced that the recount of the votes favored the Bush campaign. This statement was made before the recounts were completed. The decision of the Florida Supreme Court to recount the votes was eventually turned over by a 5-4 vote of the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec.12. The court ruled that there were constitutional problems presented by a lack of uniformity in the standards for recounting votes.
Quince told her audience that she certainly had an opinion on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, but did not wish to disclose it at the time. Quince’s most dominating message of the evening was the importance of the American vote. She said that the true significance that votes carry was emphasized by the scrutiny with which votes were treated in Florida.
“I think the message she gave that hit home the most was the importance of the vote: the controversy shows that your vote does count. It’s important that students realize that they should utilize there vote whenever possible, whether it be in a Presidential or local election,” said James Duffy, Marketing and Public Relations Associate at Temple Ambler.
The appearance of Quince was a component of Temple Ambler’s month-long celebration of Women’s History Month. The lecture was included in the program as “a unique opportunity for our students and the community to meet someone who was directly involved in the making of our country’s political history,” said Assistant Dean for Student Life Wanda Lewis-Campbell.
Quince is noted for being the first African-American female to be appointed to one of the district courts of appeal in 1993. She has served as a member of the Florida Supreme Court since Dec. 8, 1998, when the late Governor Lawton Chiles and Governor-elect Jeb Bush appointed her to the position.
Quince, an attorney, engaged in Florida bar activities, which included membership on the Gender Equality Committee. Her civic and community activities include membership in the Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Tampa Organization for Black Affairs.
“I find it inspirational that there are many African-Americans working in such prominent positions, especially women,” Deanna Dicks, a freshman international business major said. “I’m upset that the Florida Supreme Court decision was overturned, and now we’ll never be able to know if justice was truly served.”
Many Americans continue to disagree about the validity of the 2000 presidential election. Justice Peggy Quince’s lecture at Temple University Ambler, however, gave inquisitive students an opportunity to communicate with a person involved in the process.