The Magazine

Litigate This!

From the November 15, 2004 issue: There were more lawyers than cheaters in Ohio.

Nov 15, 2004, Vol. 10, No. 09 • By KATHERINE MANGU-WARD
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Conspicuous in trench coats and blue blazers, they twiddled with their cell phones and PDAs and twittered among themselves, because people were still going in every time someone came out of the supposedly hermetically-sealed polling place. This happened pretty often. When a pizza delivery guy sneaked in as someone exited (using the time-honored technique of pizza deliverymen), they decided to get the wheels in motion to get this one entered into their file of irregularities, too. After all, they reasoned in their lawyerly way, if an election that affects the fate of the world can dangle by a chad, who's to say it can't also turn on the untimely delivery of a pizza.

But it would soon become clear that all those hours in the cold rain weren't necessary. The Kerry campaign said they wanted the votes counted, not recounted. And Bush was winning the popular vote in Ohio and nationally by a comfortable margin. When Kerry conceded at 2 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, if you paused again to listen, you could hear the sound of a thousand lawyers reaching for their cell phones one last time--to make plane reservations to go home.

Katherine Mangu-Ward is a reporter at The Weekly Standard.