Coleman v Franken at MN Supreme Court

posted at 9:28 am on June 1, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

For fans of the Minnesota Recount, of which there are probably none at all, we hit another milestone today in the process.  The Minneosta Supreme Court will hear oral arguments from attorneys representing Norm Coleman and Al Franken in an attempt to resolve what the Secretary of State and a misdirected recount process tied into knots months ago:

The Minnesota Supreme Court hears oral arguments Monday in Republican Norm Coleman’s challenge to Democrat Al Franken’s claim on a U.S. Senate seat, possibly setting up the final chapter to one of the most colorful contests in recent political history.

Mr. Franken — a former comedian and “Saturday Night Live” star known for creating such characters as self-help guru Stuart Smalley — holds a 312-vote lead out of nearly three million in the race to be the next U.S. senator from Minnesota.

The court is likely to issue a decision within weeks, possibly handing Democrats a 60-vote majority in the Senate, enough to override any Republican attempts to delay legislation through filibusters.

The big question will be whether Governor Tim Pawlenty will sign a certification for Al Franken if the court rejects Norm Coleman’s appeal.  A lot of people in Minnesota want this embarrassing chapter closed, and the formal appeal process within the state ends at the state’s highest court.  Coleman can appeal in the federal courts, but that may not preclude the governor from signing a certification.

However, Pawlenty may decide that Coleman has a better chance in the federal courts than in the state courts, and he would probably be right, although the odds still favor Franken there, too.  The best argument Coleman has — an equal-protection argument that focuses on the unfairly prejudicial treatment of absentee ballots both in the election and especially in the recount — seems tailor-made for a federal challenge.  If the Minnesota courts don’t act on that argument, though, a federal court might be loath to intervene.

The only sure bet is that it will take weeks to get a ruling from the court, which means this story will continue to drag out even longer.


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The healthy side of me wants Coleman to give it up, but the sweet sugary side of me says the longer Franken is kept out of the Senate the better.

BadgerHawk on June 1, 2009 at 9:31 AM

If it was anyone other than Franken, I’d want Coleman to give up. The idea that I’ll have that idiot as a Senator for six years nauseates me. What an absolute embarrassment for this state.

strictnein on June 1, 2009 at 9:36 AM

If the courts decide that a heavily Democrat election machine can count Republican districts using one criteria, and Democratic districts using a different criteria, then what little hope is left for this country disappears.

MarkTheGreat on June 1, 2009 at 9:37 AM

I’ve got a feeling the senate dems are glad Franken hasn’t yet graced their halls with his presence, their stock is sinking and an extra clown in the room is the last thing they need.

Still, leave it to MN to actually make this a race; I’m not surprised so many of my fellow Minnesotans would vote for a dunderhead like Franken.

Bishop on June 1, 2009 at 9:39 AM

strictnein on June 1, 2009 at 9:36 AM

If I lived in MN, I’d feel the same way.

ladyingray on June 1, 2009 at 9:40 AM

If you can litigate the election for president, what’s the big deal about senator? Al Gore changed the world in 2000, and not in a good way.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on June 1, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Folks, we lost. We need to seriously get on with the next campaign and get Minnesota to realize how badly they screwed up, otherwise this will just guarantee they challenge our next win in the court for months and months.

MadisonConservative on June 1, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Keep dragging this until Obamacare is defeated.

promachus on June 1, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Ed, I haven’t been following this too closely and it’s not clear to me – do you think Coleman is in the right? Or even if he is in the right, that he should give it up because it seems to be going nowhere?

Rosmerta on June 1, 2009 at 9:48 AM

Folks, we lost. We need to seriously get on with the next campaign and get Minnesota to realize how badly they screwed up, otherwise this will just guarantee they challenge our next win in the court for months and months.

MadisonConservative on June 1, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Yeah we lost…. but not fair and square.
We lost by magical ballots found in back seats of cars, or magical recounts that always went in the democrats favor.

So, just give up and let democrats steal yet another election, sounds like a good way to loose the next; because i don’t forsee the democrats playing fair in any election from here on out – it worked out so well in 2008!

Trust me, McCain has no chance, not because he was a bad candidate, and he was, but Obama had a good 7-8 millon votes before the election started… and not one of them was real.

Donut on June 1, 2009 at 9:48 AM

Franken was not funny in his previous profession. When he becomes a Senator, it won’t be funny then either.

kingsjester on June 1, 2009 at 9:50 AM

For this to give the democrats a 60 vote majority and uncontested rule means that 60 minds of one party have to be thinking the same way to be reality. Does this indicate that the political parties put their party ahead of the best interests of our nation? When politicians become this self centered, a democracy cannot exist.

volsense on June 1, 2009 at 9:52 AM

I’m not surprised so many of my fellow Minnesotans would vote for a dunderhead like Franken.

Bishop on June 1, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Give ‘em credit; it’s not easy to vote early and often from the grave.

Laura in Maryland on June 1, 2009 at 9:53 AM

I agree donut. The democrats have been rigging elections as a standard operating procedure for years. Now with 4,000,000,000 dollars to finance ACORN, free elections may become a thing of the past, courtest of the biggest deception ever pulled on the American people, Obama. Franken stealing Minnesota may be the last straw.

volsense on June 1, 2009 at 9:57 AM

A lot of people in Minnesota want this embarrassing chapter closed

The embarassment begins if Franken is actually elected. Any idiot Minnesotan who voted for that man deserves all the embarassment they will get.

Daemonocracy on June 1, 2009 at 10:01 AM

I have a guilty pleasure over this.

There was never any question but that the bureaucrats at every level were thoughtful, serious people who were firmly on the side of their thoughtful, serious candidate, Al Franken.

It’s been fun in a naughty kind of way watching this thing stretch out into the summer. Dare I say: like water torture.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

jeff_from_mpls on June 1, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Donut on June 1, 2009 at 9:48 AM

Are we now going to go into liberal-post-2000 mode every time a liberal wins a race that we really don’t want to lose?

MadisonConservative on June 1, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Franken was not funny in his previous profession. When he becomes a Senator, it won’t be funny then either.

kingsjester on June 1, 2009 at 9:50 AM

Well…not “funny ha ha”

SnakeintheGrass on June 1, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Are we now going to go into liberal-post-2000 mode every time a liberal wins a race that we really don’t want to lose?

MadisonConservative on June 1, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Well, there is a diff in 2000 and 2008.

in 2000 they tried to say “the machines were hard for old people to read” which makes me say “if your not smart enough to read, then you def would of voted democrat”.

and in 2008 – Where the republican was ahead, then “missing” ballots from a heavily democratic district started turning up daily and the Democrat got a 600 vote swing.

Well, what i am saying is, there’s no doubt in MY and anyone else that was keeping up with this election, that Frankin’s campaign cheated, and voted fraud happened.

To recap -

2000- We won, They claimed old people are stupid, they also blocked absentee ballots from overseas military

2008- We won, They found 600 ballots, and penciled in “frankin” and the corrupt MN election boards let it happen (id guess they had hope and hand fevah)

Donut on June 1, 2009 at 10:18 AM

hope and hand fevah

what the hell is hope and hand fevah?

:P hope and change of course my bad

Donut on June 1, 2009 at 10:20 AM

so what was it…the 17 Amendment that came up w/ this great idea. Repeal it and this whole discussion goes away. Senators should be elected by the states who they were there to represent in the original constitution. Imagine that. The applied wisdom of the framers when discarded has given us the Blago criminal enterprise, the spoiled/failed Kennedy story, and the Franken debacle.

Stupid Liberal Social Engineering. The 20th Century won’t be remembered as the age of oil. It will be remembered as the age of malignant political pandemics. Marx was an ideological Typhoid Mary. And we are the ones now drinking the cool-aid.

lm10001 on June 1, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Franken just wants the franking privileges.

Coleman is a latern of reason among such clowns.

I want a mini-soda to match the car Al arrived in.

profitsbeard on June 1, 2009 at 10:28 AM

latern = lantern.

profitsbeard on June 1, 2009 at 10:28 AM

Bozo circus is on the air! With ringmaster Ned and Cookie the clown. Geez, what this reminds me of is when I lived in Woodbury, MN and suffered through 4 years with Jesse “the-head-shaking” Ventura.

jbh45 on June 1, 2009 at 10:36 AM

Democrats have been stealing elections forever. 1960 saw Kennedey steal it from Nixon. 2000 was a clumsy attempt in Florida. 2005 saw Christine Gregoire steal Washington state. Now we have Minnesota and they aren’t even hiding it anymore. And through it all any attempt to instill guidelines to keep them fair and honest have been blocked by democrats.

vapig on June 1, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Folks, we lost. We need to seriously get on with the next campaign and get Minnesota to realize how badly they screwed up, otherwise this will just guarantee they challenge our next win in the court for months and months.

Except that the problem isn’t that we lost. The Dems have the “All votes must be counted… until we’re ahead” thing down, and the MSM goes right along like the trained lapdogs they are. We have to stop this (we didn’t in Washington State’s gubenotorial election two years ago, and look at the results), and we have to stop this now. We need to draw a line in the sand and start defending it.

crazy_legs on June 1, 2009 at 10:50 AM

If the courts decide that a heavily Democrat election machine can count Republican districts using one criteria, and Democratic districts using a different criteria, then what little hope is left for this country disappears.

MarkTheGreat on June 1, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Stalin once said that what the voters vote means nothing, what the vote counters do means everything.

I can definitely see this going to SCOTUS if Coleman wants to take it all the way, the manner of inconsistent counting and recounting criteria is a clear violation of that much abused “equal protection” clause, AND contrary to the “Bush vs Gore” case involving Flori-DUH.

That said, if Franken is eventually seated his buffoonish idiocy might harm them more than help at this time. It’s really irrelevant given that the Dems already have vote #60 given Snow, Collins, and to a somewhat lesser extent, McCain and his “mini me” Lindsey Graham.

wildcat84 on June 1, 2009 at 10:51 AM

The stealing of the Florida election by the democrats was so obvious that the the democratic precincts they felt they had rigged backed off at the last minute because they were clearly fraudulent. The people of Tennessee knew Gore and kept him out of office. If he had’ve carried his home state of Tennessee, Florida would not have mattered. People know Gore’s intentions are evil, but what they really question is his sanity.

volsense on June 1, 2009 at 10:59 AM

I’m all for anything that will keep Franken out of office, even if it is temporary.

southsideironworks on June 1, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Donut on June 1, 2009 at 10:18 AM

Don’t forget Washington State governor’s race. Same exact blueprint as MN Senate. We won, then magically Democrat votes turned up. Once they won, amazingly all votes had been counted!

crazy_legs on June 1, 2009 at 11:04 AM

Democrats NEVER give up.

Why should we?

ExTex on June 1, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Coleman went the extra mile for the GOP. Good fight, although I’m ready for this to be over.

AnninCA on June 1, 2009 at 11:07 AM

in 2000 they tried to say “the machines were hard for old people to read” which makes me say “if your not smart enough to read, then you def would of voted democrat”

which makes me say

If you’re not smart enough to know the difference between “your” and “you’re”, or “of” and “have”, then you really don’t have much room to talk.

The Monster on June 1, 2009 at 11:09 AM

I do find it amusing that the Democrats make no attempt to conceal that they believe their constituency to be brainless drooling illiterate morons.

They even argue that in court.

Just goes to show you what they think about the American people. It manifests itself in their nanny state contempt for individual responsibility.

wildcat84 on June 1, 2009 at 11:17 AM

The healthy side of me wants Coleman to give it up, but the sweet sugary side of me says the longer Franken is kept out of the Senate the better.

I hope Coleman fights all the way to SCOTUS if nessassary,and maybe they will admonish the way this election was railroaded. If SCOTUS can make a precedent here, maybe it could actually STOP the Demoncrats from stealing election like this one.

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on June 1, 2009 at 11:40 AM

I hope Coleman fights all the way to SCOTUS if nessassary,and maybe they will admonish the way this election was railroaded. If SCOTUS can make a precedent here, maybe it could actually STOP the Demoncrats from stealing election like this one.

Even if they don’t stop it, I think that it will hold up Franken getting seated until late 2009 / early 2010, which will make him fresh in everyone’s memories by the time the 2010 midterms roll around.

He’ll be to the Senate what Pelosi is to the House… a moonbat caricature that puts a face to the opposition.

teke184 on June 1, 2009 at 11:45 AM

This race was targeted for theft from Election Night forward.

Yes, Norm ran a crappy campaign. Yes, Franken was riding Hope & Change coattails. And yes, most people who voted for the 3rd party candidate only did so because they couldn’t believe Franken would actually win. No matter.

Coleman MUST appeal this all the way to SCOTUS.

Line in the sand time, Norm,

Bruno Strozek on June 1, 2009 at 11:52 AM

I am a lawyer, and I have read the briefs filed by the parties in the Minnesota Supreme Court. In my view, Coleman is right and therefore should fight this all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if need be.

Given the nature of the problems identified by Coleman, it may be difficult for the Minnesota Supreme Court to admit in effect that the Minnesota U.S. Senate election was handled so badly that there was a denial of the equal protection of the laws. But there was, despite Franken’s effort to argue otherwise. A federal suit may be necessary to get it right.

If the case continues for a while, as I think is likely, the consolation is that there are important voting and election issues involved in the case and that Coleman is right about those issues.

Phil Byler on June 1, 2009 at 12:02 PM

Mr. Franken — a former comedian and “Saturday Night Live” star known for creating such characters as self-help guru Stuart Smalley

Funny that “drug addict” and “tax evader” didn’t make it into that précis. I wonder why?

andycanuck on June 1, 2009 at 12:03 PM

A lot of people in Minnesota want this embarrassing chapter closed

Closed? These people voted for Al Franken. How can you close such an embarrassing chapter?

Michelle Dubois on June 1, 2009 at 12:52 PM

[Embarrassing chapter] closed? These people voted for Al Franken. How can you close such an embarrassing chapter?

Michelle Dubois on June 1, 2009 at 12:52 PM

What a great point.

“Hey everyone, let’s cut this monkey business and get down to some serious business. Ladies and Gentlemen, he’s yours, he’s mine, he’s Al Franken, let’s give him a hand everybody!”

jeff_from_mpls on June 1, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Does anyone really think that Frankin would stop if the situation was reversed?

crazy_legs on June 1, 2009 at 1:05 PM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no-one should win a statewide election by 312 votes. Any time the margin of the winner is smaller than the margin of error, the election should be declared a tie and there should be a compulsory revote, like the one they had in Georgia and like the one they should have had in Florida in 2000.

But since that’s not an option I think Coleman and Pawlenty are hurting the Republican Party by refusing to accept defeat. There is that whole sore loser thing that will make it hard for Norm to make a comeback (which is fine with me, but that’s another story). Plus Franken is the martyr right now: the choice of the people who is denied his seat by the litigious Republicans. Meanwhile if he could take his place in the Senate, he would have to vote on things and he would have a chance to say and do stupid things, making ammo for the Reps in 2010. At this point your game should be “told you so.”

Just a useless opinionoid from a libertarian liberal.

factoid on June 1, 2009 at 1:29 PM

Ed, what is the embarassing part of the chapter that Minnesotans want closed? The fact that they possibly elected a butt-hat like Stuart Smalley to the UNITED STAES SENATE? As a Massachusetts resident saddled with the likes of Ted Kennedy and Barney Frank, I can only say thank God for Minnesota!

Huckabye-Romney on June 1, 2009 at 1:34 PM

As long as due process is moving forward, there is no embarrassment. However long it takes, it takes.

blueguitarbob on June 1, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Het factoid, Coleman and Pawlenty are NOT hurting the GOP by refusing to concede defeat when a fair assessment of the legal issues are such that Franken should not be declared the winner.

As I state in my 12:02 PM post, I am a lawyer, I have read the legal briefs filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court and I am more than persuaded by Coleman’s argument. Until you educate yourself about the legal issues at stake in the Coleman lawsuit, your opinion is, as you indicate it may be in your 1:29 PM post, useless.

Phil Byler on June 1, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Folks, we lost. We need to seriously get on with the next campaign and get Minnesota to realize how badly they screwed up, otherwise this will just guarantee they challenge our next win in the court for months and months.

MadisonConservative on June 1, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Did we? After the hash they made of keeping score, how do you even know?

tom on June 1, 2009 at 2:58 PM

If you’re not smart enough to know the difference between “your” and “you’re”, or “of” and “have”, then you really don’t have much room to talk.

The Monster on June 1, 2009 at 11:09 AM

next you will tell me yall isn’t a word

Donut on June 1, 2009 at 4:19 PM

The only sure bet is that it will take weeks to get a ruling from the court, which means this story will continue to drag out even longer.

Groan…

Aronne on June 1, 2009 at 4:54 PM

I am a lawyer, and I have read the briefs filed by the parties in the Minnesota Supreme Court. In my view, Coleman is right and therefore should fight this all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if need be.

Given the nature of the problems identified by Coleman, it may be difficult for the Minnesota Supreme Court to admit in effect that the Minnesota U.S. Senate election was handled so badly that there was a denial of the equal protection of the laws. But there was, despite Franken’s effort to argue otherwise. A federal suit may be necessary to get it right.

If the case continues for a while, as I think is likely, the consolation is that there are important voting and election issues involved in the case and that Coleman is right about those issues.

Phil Byler on June 1, 2009 at 12:02 PM

You are correct my friend. Someone has to fight the fight, and Coleman’s the only one doing it.

Will someone please lend him a hand?

Chaz706 on June 1, 2009 at 5:42 PM

OK CANADA I GIVE UP YOU TAKE MINN. AND NAME YOUR PRICE WE WILL GIVE YOU ANYTHING YOU WANT BUT PLEASE TAKE THIS MESS NORTH.THANK YOU CANADA

wade underhile on June 1, 2009 at 7:44 PM