June 1st, 2009
10:13 AM ET
14 years ago

Crucial hearing Monday in Coleman-Franken fight

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/13/mn.coleman.franken/art.coleman.franken.gi.jpg caption="The Minnesota Supreme Court is hearing argument Monday in the election contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken."]
(CNN) - Nearly seven months after Election Day, the battle between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken for a U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota heads to the state's Supreme Court.

But an eventual ruling by Minnesota's top court may not bring an end to one of the nation's longest-running election disputes in decades.

The justices on the state's highest court will hear arguments today on whether problems counting absentee ballots justify the reversal of a lower state court ruling that declared Franken, the former comedian and progressive radio talk show host, the winner by 312 votes over Coleman, the freshman senator whose term expired at the beginning of the year.

Coleman was ahead after election day on November 4, but he led Franken by just over 200 votes out of the nearly three million cast. That triggered an automatic recount. When that process was completed at the beginning of the year, it indicated that Franken led by a similar number of votes.

The Coleman camp quickly appealed that ruling to the state legal system.

Coleman wants the court to order that more than 4,000 absentee ballots that were rejected be counted.

A ruling in favor of Coleman won't put him back in the Senate seat he used to hold, but it would extend his battle. Even if the court rules against him, Coleman could take his case to the federal courts, or even petition the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Franken victory could persuade the state's governor, a Republican, and the state's Secretary of State, a Democrat, to sign a certificate of election, which would allow Franken to take office.

The court could take weeks to decide.

"I would hope within a month or so we will get a decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court, and that this will be resolved," Amy Klobuchar, currently Minnesota's only senator, told CNN's John King on State of the Union on Sunday.

The battle has national implications. If seated, Franken would become the Democrat's 60th vote in the chamber, giving the party a filibuster-proof majority - and denying Republicans the ability to single-handedly block legislation or nomination votes.

Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota • Norm Coleman • Senate
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Tom in CA

    Coleman will keep this going until 2014, and Minnesota will only have 1 senator.

    Thanks Norm and the Grand Obstructionism Party.

    June 1, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. RepugliKLAN conscience

    Coleman is the poster-boy for frivilous lawsuits. No litigation is too frivolous if it will further Coleman's goal of nullifying the decision of the voters despite the decisions of the Courts.

    June 1, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Tony in Maine

    It's not entirely Coleman. The RNC is doing all it possibly can to delay or even prevent the seating of Franken.

    To the Republicans who insist the Democrats lost and are trying to steal the election – I remind you of Bush v. Gore when 50,000 blacks (most probable Democrats) were denied the right to vote by their precincts being under-equipped, by their precincts voter rolls being accidentally purged and by Florida State Police standing at the doorways, thousand yard stare permanently pasted on their faces in order to intimidate people who have every reason to fear false arrest and detainment.

    Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush, and the Scalia Court delivered the Oval Office to the loser. And your kvetching over Franken wanting what we won?

    Get over it. You guys are going the way of the Whigs. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    June 1, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Candy West Virginia

    phoenix86 – you have seriously got to give yourself a break from faux news, hannity and lush limpaugh and think on your own for just once and then you might have an intelligent post. Because your usual posts sound like a pathological lying ten year old. Try MSNBC sometimes.

    June 1, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. stupid partisan hacks

    Meet the new bosses,same as the old bosses,both parties are owned by the money changers,and nothing will change.If you cant see that you need a checkup from the neck up.

    June 1, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. Deb

    This is ridiculous. Don't the people of Minnesota miss having two senators representing them in Washington, DC? What hypicrosy from Governor Pawlenty!

    June 1, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Qui-Tam Relator

    Two Jews fighting over a bone it make me sick and it should outrage the voters in their state. Is this why we can't get any peace talks going in the middle east ?

    June 1, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Deb

    Proud member of...the Party of NO. I can't remember the last thing Republicans have done to be proud of.

    June 1, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Billy

    Amazing that the courts are allowing this state to be under-represented in the federal government.

    June 1, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |

    phoneix 86
    Do you have a Brain? Do you think for yourself? or do you wallow in Fox News and Limbaughs talking points Jeez Just listen to yourself!

    June 1, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Pepper from CA

    I feel for the people of MN. They are not represented in US Gov because of 1 guy who cannot accept his loss. And they have a court that continues to play that game. Does MN polititians and their court only represent themselves and not the people in that State? Perhaps a recall is in order of your governor and your court justices.

    June 1, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. Todd

    I guarantee that Karl Rove has a hand in this circus......just like he did in Florida.

    How can the citizens of this state put up with this garbage?

    June 1, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Preston

    To paraphrase Barry Goldwater: "Finally and belately deciding to throw in the towel when you've clearly lost beyond any reasonable doubt is no vice; childish imbecility and thumbing your nose at the people of Minnesota and indeed the entire country in the pursuit of your egocentric agenda is no virtue".

    It's now nearly seven months since the election. The fact that Sen. Franken has not yet been seated, while Mr. Coleman persists in his antics, is a major flaw in our system.

    June 1, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Stormee in Georgia

    If I remember right, weren't the Republicans the ones who either years ago where wearing diapers and carrying signs that said "Sore-Loserman" during the 2000 Presidential recounts? And isn't Norm Coleman showing that he has taken being a sore loser to the extreme? So, come on "principled" Republicans, are you only a sore loser if you are a Democrat?
    That is the biggest problem with this current Republican party, they no longer are guided by principle, only by never addmiting any wrong doings and not holding their own to the same set of principles they hold the opposition to. This hypocrisy is what is tearing apart the Republican Party.
    BTW, I am not a Dem, I am actually a former Republican, and will stay a "former" one as long as they stay this current Limbaugh/Gingrich/Cheney guided course

    June 1, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. Roger

    Gov. Pawlenty needs to end this foolishness now – sign the certification for Al Franken and move on! The good people of Minnesota have been being served by only one senator for too long and this needs to end now. Norm, do the right thing and end this. Your credibility is already shot – don't make it any worse!!

    June 1, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. Film Professor

    I would love to see this go to the Supreme Court, just to see how justices like Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy apply the precedent they created in 2000 when they stopped the recounts in Florida and awarded their buddy George Bush the election. I would love to see their squirmy logic as they would now try to twist the facts to accomodate Norm Coleman no doubt.

    June 1, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. CTardy

    Coleman need to show good sportsmanship, and let it go. It is over!

    June 1, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Since this has been held this up for 8 months, I think that once Sen. Franken is sworn in, his term shoudl be extended for 8 months. It's only fair. The GOP think they can hold up the President's agenda by prolonging this matter. This is grotesque abuse of our Constitution!

    June 1, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Drose

    Dear Phoenix 86..

    wrong again about money in the stimulus bill for ACORN. The amount proposed originally was for neighborhood rebuilding projects, opposed by Republicans and eventually dropped in the Senate version of the stimulus bill. No mention was ever made of specific groups including ACORN and as usual, you were wrong on the amount. It was originally 4 Billion, not 8 billion and is now zero.

    June 1, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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