WASHINGTON (AP) _ A U.S. Supreme Court as divided as the nation's voters ruled for George W. Bush in the Florida presidential election case Tuesday night, reversing a state court decision that had ordered new recounts sought by Al Gore.

In an extraordinary late-night decision that unfolded on national television, the justices said the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court violated equal rights and there was not enough time to conduct a new effort that would meet constitutional muster.

``Because it is evident that any recount seeking to meet the Dec. 12 date will be unconstitutional ... we reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida ordering the recount to proceed,'' the court said.

The campaigns, Bush and Gore alike, were poring over the complex and detailed ruling, which came five weeks to the day after the presidential election. Florida's 25 electoral votes would decide the winner.

On Monday, Gore's Democratic running mate, Joseph Lieberman, had said that if the Supreme Court ``basically overrules the Florida Supreme Court ... that's probably the end of it.''