Gore Says Elian's Relatives Should Decide the Case

July 7, 2008 - 8:25 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Vice President Al Gore, who recently said the Elian Gonzalez custody battle should be settled in family court rather than federal court, now says the boy's fate should be settled by all of Elian's relatives - without bureaucratic interference.

"At this point, the tensions being as high as they are, I think that we need to encourage the talks between the family members themselves," said Gore at a campaign stop in Vandalia, Ohio Monday night. "That's the ideal solution. Let the entire family, including the Florida relatives, talk."

Gore said if the relatives cannot agree among themselves - an increasingly unlikely possibility -- he still believes the matter should be settled in a family court.

Gore was heavily criticized last month -- by fellow Democrats and others -- when he broke with President Clinton and said Elian should be granted permanent residency in the United States.

Such a move would put the custody battle under the jurisdiction of a Florida family court, taking it away from the INS, which has ruled that Elian's father legally speaks for the boy.

In Miami Tuesday, the legal wrangling over Elian continues.

Attorneys for Elian's Miami relatives today will attempt to revive the Gonzalez family's petition in a Florida family court by asking a judge to conduct a full hearing on the fitness of Elian's Cuban father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez.

And in a closely-watched development, Justice Department officials in Washington said they will issue a letter sometime today explaining where and when Elian's Miami relatives should return Elian to his father.

The Justice Department is expected to choose a "neutral" location other than the Miami home where Elian is presently staying.

Linda Osberg-Braun, an attorney for Elian's Miami relatives, told CNSNews.com the family will fight the Justice Department order.

She said Justice Department officials would have to "prove jurisdiction" in their motion, and she also indicated that the family plans to claim that the Department of Justice is not the proper authority in a custody case.