William Dexter Douglass

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Dexter Douglass, one of the lead lawyers for Vice President Al Gore during the chaotic presidential election recount of 2000, died on 17th September 2013 at his home here. He was 83.

His daughter Lacy Douglass said her father had been treated for bladder cancer.

Mr. Douglass, who had a long career in Democratic politics and state government in Florida, was part of Mr. Gore’s legal team, which pressed for ballot recounts after the close election results in Florida.

His demeanor in court led The New York Times to call him a “stem-winding old-school Tallahassee orator who in another era would have worn a white suit and a pocket watch to court.”

The election turmoil ended after 36 days when the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 ruling, halted the recount of ballots that had been ordered by the Florida Supreme Court, ensuring an Electoral College victory for the Republican candidate, George W. Bush.

Mr. Douglass had been general counsel to Gov. Lawton Chiles in the 1990s. The two men had met each other while attending the University of Florida and were longtime friends.

Mr. Douglass left the counsel’s job in order to guide a constitutional revision panel that made several sweeping changes to state government in 1998. Voters approved amendments that year that shrank the size of the state cabinet and made the governor more powerful.

William Dexter Douglas was born on Dec. 6, 1929, in Holmes County, Fla., in the Panhandle. He owned a 300-acre cattle farm north of Tallahassee. He is survived by his wife, Therese, as well as three daughters and several grandchildren, The Miami Herald reported. A son died before him. 


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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018