BREAKING NEWS: Norm Coleman Concedes

About time.  No, make that WAY past time.

Norm Coleman congratulates Al Franken on Senate win.

Minnesota’s Supreme Court has dismissed former Sen. Norm Coleman’s challenge to the state’s November election results and declared Democratic challenger Al Franken the winner.

The court’s unanimous, unsigned opinion declared that Franken “received the highest number of votes legally cast” and is entitled “to receive the certificate of election as United States senator from the state of Minnesota.”

If the ruling brings an end to seven months of challenges by Coleman, Franken would become the 60th member of the Senate Democratic caucus, a move that gives the party a filibuster-proof majority in the chamber, at least on paper.

The former “Saturday Night Live” writer and performer had declared victory in the disputed race after a recount ended in January, but Coleman, a Republican who had been seeking a second six-year term, went to court to challenge those results.

Norm Coleman: “Time To End Charade In Senate Race”

How many times does a dog need to be slapped on the nose with the newspaper before he stays off the davenport?

Norm Coleman’s Lawyer Did Not Make Case

Monday was not a good day for Norm Coleman in Minnesota.

In his argument, Mr. Coleman’s lawyer, Joe Friedberg, did not contend that there had been fraud at work in the election, but that thousands of voters had been blocked from having their votes counted by inconsistently applied rules about accepting absentee ballots. Whether a person’s vote was counted depended “on where you sleep,” Mr. Friedberg said. “We have significant disenfranchisement.”

The presiding justice, Alan C. Page, pushed Mr. Friedberg to prove that the inconsistencies were so egregious that they went beyond what might occur in any election, and rose to the level of a constitutional violation of equal protection and due process.

Mr. Friedberg responded that the ballot problem was “horrible,” but Justice Page, who continued to press the point, did not seem satisfied with that answer.

The issue of consistent rules also played a significant role in the United States Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, which decided the presidential election of 2000. In the hearing, Mr. Friedberg argued that the 2000 case showed that differences between some counties in the handling of ballots could show statewide problems.

The lawyer for Mr. Franken, Marc Elias, argued that Bush v. Gore did not apply to the issues before the justices. Differences in the acceptance of ballots statewide did not show deeper electoral problems that the Coleman team described, Mr. Elias said, but were examples of the reasonable discretion used by local officials to satisfy state requirements for the review of ballots — “the grease in the joints, so to speak, that allows the election to take place,” he said.

U.S. Senate Should Provisionally Seat Al Franken

Are you tired of the charade that is passing as politics in Minnesota?  Are you sick of Norm Coleman, and his lack of good sportsmanship after being defeated, but still not having the decency to stop his antics?

The following advice from the Los Angeles Times is spot on, and should be acted upon by the U.S. Senate.  Now.

The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear arguments today in Coleman vs. Franken, Norm Coleman’s challenge to the 2008 U.S. Senate election in Minnesota. If, as expected, the court rejects Coleman’s challenge and confirms Al Franken as the winner, the U.S. Senate should be ready to seat Franken provisionally, even if Coleman vows further legal action and even if the state’s governor refuses to sign Franken’s election certificate.
The Senate race in Minnesota was exceedingly close, and Franken was exceedingly lucky. When Coleman was initially ahead the day after the election by 206 votes, he called on Franken to concede. Franken refused, pointing to an automatic recount triggered under state law by the razor-thin outcome. After a lengthy recount of ballots, including a detailed examination of disputed ballots by a canvassing commission, Franken was declared the winner by 225 votes.

 

At that point, Coleman refused to concede, contesting the election in a trial court made up of judges appointed by a Democrat, a Republican and an independent. The court, after considering 142 witnesses, 1,717 exhibits and 19,181 pages of filings, declared Franken ahead by 312 votes. It unanimously rejected Coleman’s case.
 
Coleman’s constitutional arguments are getting a fair hearing before the Minnesota Supreme Court. State courts are fully empowered — and constitutionally obligated — to consider a litigant’s federal constitutional claims. Three of the five justices hearing the case have Republican Party backgrounds, and one was appointed by independent Gov. Jesse Ventura. This is not a court stacked with partisans against Coleman.

If Coleman loses before the Minnesota Supreme Court, he might choose to give up. But some Republican senators are encouraging him to fight on in the federal courts, and encouraging Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty not to sign a certificate of election for Franken.

If Coleman continues the fight by filing a new federal lawsuit, the U.S. Senate should not wait for the outcome before seating Franken provisionally. There’s no argument that Coleman could make in a new federal lawsuit that he can’t make in the current litigation. The only reason for a new federal lawsuit would be to delay the Democrats’ ability to obtain a 60th vote — a potentially filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Even if Pawlenty chooses not to sign the certificate of election, the Senate, as the constitutionally authorized arbiter of disputed Senate elections, should declare Franken the provisional winner.

A more immediate question if Coleman loses in the Minnesota court is whether the Senate should await the outcome of any direct appeal of the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court before seating Franken.

Coleman ordinarily would have 90 days after the Minnesota judgment to file his petition in the U.S. Supreme Court, and the high court would not be expected to rule on whether or not to hear Coleman’s appeal before the beginning of its next term in October, at the earliest. But Coleman can ask to expedite the process. And the Senate should give Coleman only a short window of time to seek an immediate stay of the Minnesota court ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. If Coleman does not quickly seek a stay, or if he files for it and the high court denies the stay, the Senate should provisionally seat Franken.

The U.S. Supreme Court would issue a stay only if it thinks there’s a good chance Coleman would win his appeal and that the Senate seating of Franken would irreparably harm Coleman. That’s what happened in 2000 when George W. Bush sought a stay to prevent the Florida Supreme Court-ordered recounting of votes in Florida. If the court declines to issue Coleman a stay, it would be time for the Senate to give Franken the seat pending further court developments.

With Coleman facing such long odds at that point, there would be no reason to deny the people of Minnesota half of their Senate representation for another three or more months.

Coleman’s appeal now sits before the Minnesota Supreme Court. Although he has raised some state law issues, his main arguments are federal constitutional ones. He argues that the state violated his equal-protection rights when some counties allegedly used lax standards compared with others in deciding which absentee ballots to count. He also argues that the trial court violated his due process rights by allegedly changing the standards for deciding which absentee ballots to count once the election contest began.

To correct these problems, Coleman is asking for the Minnesota high court to send the case back to the trial court for a ruling to allow another few thousand absentee ballots to be counted under the alleged lax standards.

Hey Norm Coleman, The People Want You To Pull Plug On Antics

Enough!

Nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans surveyed think Norm Coleman should concede the U.S. Senate race to Al Franken, but just as many believe the voting system that gave the state its longest running election contest needs improvement.

A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found that 64 percent of those responding believe Coleman, the Republican, should accept the recount trial court’s April 13 verdict that Democrat Franken won the race by 312 votes.

Only 28 percent consider last week’s appeal by Coleman to the Minnesota Supreme Court “appropriate.”

When Can U.S. Senator Al Franken Take Oath Of Office?

UPDATED

Why sore-loser Norm Coleman is spitting in the wind….that is not the legal language…for that read this.

I have never made the claim that Democrats are always the virtuous ones.  But when it comes to following through on the large themes for which our party stands I think we mostly get it right. Not always, but most times we walk our talk.  But when it comes to the Minnesota United States Senate race from November 2008, over five months ago, the Republicans have shown to all that petty politics trumps their larger stated principles of following the law, and conservative bedrock philosophies of making government work in an orderly process.  Unless one of those foundations for the GOP now includes disallowing duly elected officials with which they disagree from taking office, I would argue that the Republicans took such a pummeling last year that it has left them stunned and unable to react rationally.  Norm Coleman has become a national boob while the people in Minnesota are denied full representation on the issues of the day.  Way to go GOP!!   I am sure this will help you find your way out of the political wilderness! 

Here is a tip for the wayward Republicans…..the path to the light does not go through the land of  10,000 lakes.

Three judges soundly rejected Norm Coleman’s attempt to reverse Al Franken’s lead in the U.S. Senate election late Monday, sweeping away the Republican’s claims in a blunt ruling Coleman promised to appeal.

After a trial spanning nearly three months, the judicial panel dismissed Coleman’s central argument that the election and its aftermath were fraught with systemic errors that made the results invalid.

“The overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that the Nov. 4, 2008, election was conducted fairly, impartially and accurately,” the panel said in its unanimous decision.

The panel concluded that Franken, a DFLer, “received the highest number of votes legally cast” in the election. Franken emerged from the trial with a 312-vote lead, the court ruled, and “is therefore entitled to receive the certificate of election.”

Speaking to reporters outside his downtown Minneapolis condominium, Franken, flanked by his wife, Franni, said he had “no control” over what Coleman does next but said he would urge his opponent not to appeal, which would delay his certification. “I am honored and humbled by this close victory,” he said. “And it’s long past time we got to work.”

What Will Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty Do?

This is why they are paid the big bucks.  (Well, not such big bucks, but you get my drift.  I never beat up on the salaries we pay to elected officials as they do a lot of work and get little respect at times.)  But in the end they are there  to make the tough decisions.

The legal fight between Al Franken and Norm Coleman is headed to the desk of Gov. Tim Pawlenty — a no-win predicament for a Minnesota Republican with his eye on a White House run in 2012.

Franken won big Tuesday when a three-judge panel allowed the review of no more than 400 absentee ballots in a race he currently leads by 225 votes. Coleman’s camp says an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court is coming; once that’s done, the dispute lands in Pawlenty’s lap.

If Franken’s ahead at that point, Pawlenty will have a choice: sign the election certificate that will allow Democrats to seat Franken in the Senate or play to the Republicans whose support he’d need in 2012 by withholding the certificate while Coleman challenges the election in the federal court system.

“The Republican Party nationally and in Minnesota is playing not just with fire, but with dynamite,” said Rep. James L. Oberstar, a Democrat and the dean of Minnesota’s congressional delegation.

Oberstar — like a lot of Democrats — says November’s election should finally be over as soon as the Minnesota Supreme Court rules.

If Pawlenty and the Republicans push it further, he says, “this thing is going to blow up in their face.”

Norm Coleman Dealt Blow By Court, Al Franken Celebrates Decision

When will the circus end so Democratic winner Al Franken can be seated and start to do the work for the people of Minnesota?  Well, tonight we are closer to the end, and even a source close to the Republican former Senator, and now poor-loser, Norm Coleman said “Its not looking good.” Well duh…you lost the election months ago!   Republican Coleman knows he has nothing left of his political career, and so is trying everything in his dirty deck of cards for a trick.  Thankfully the Court dealt Coleman one in the nards today.

After seven weeks of reviewing a hand recount, millions spent on legal fees and a tough legal ruling Tuesday afternoon, Norm Coleman still looks like the loser in the Minnesota Senate race.

But even as Democrat Al Franken’s campaign celebrated a three-judge panel’s decision to put at most 400 ballots back in play, the Coleman camp is still promising to take its case to the Minnesota Supreme Court. And it’s not ruling out an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or filing a new lawsuit in federal district court.

Ben Ginsberg, a central player for George W. Bush during the 2000 Florida recount and Coleman’s lawyer, said, “If the court does not reverse its decision, it will give us no choice but to appeal that order to the Minnesota Supreme Court.”

And Ginsberg said it was “an open legal question” on whether the candidate leading after the Minnesota Supreme Court rules should be certified the winner and thus be seated in the Senate.

In its ruling Tuesday, the three-judge panel ordered absentee ballots to be turned over to the Minnesota secretary of state’s office by April 6. The ballots would then be counted in open court by April 7.

Once the ballots are counted on April 7, the court will very likely issue a final opinion, which can be appealed to the state Supreme Court within 10 days. That means Minnesota will most likely be without a second senator for at least the rest of April, a boon to the GOP, which is trying to prevent Democrats from getting their 59th seat in a chamber where 60 is king.

All told, the math really doesn’t look good for Coleman after this decision, as he would have to win an overwhelming majority of these 400 ballots in question to overcome Franken’s 225-vote lead, and not every one of these ballots will necessarily be opened and recounted.

“We are obviously pleased,” Marc Elias, chief legal counsel for Franken, said in a conference call with reporters. “Obviously, the math is going to be very difficult for former Sen. Coleman and his legal team. … We feel pretty good about where we stand, but we are going to wait until Tuesday for these ballots to be opened and counted.”