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

Crucial hearing Monday in Coleman-Franken fight

The Minnesota Supreme Court is hearing argument Monday in the election contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken.

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. Takeshi

    HEy Coleman. Put your foot in your face.

    June 1, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. phoenix86

    We now see ACORN fighting to keep ballots from being counted. Makes sense why Obama allocated over $8 billion to them in the recovery package.

    June 1, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. D. Holder

    After the experience of the 2000 national election, let's get this one right. It is interesting that there is no compelling hysteria to rush to a resolution of the Franken-Coleman debacle. The process is taking its course through whatever channels are required and, after the Bush-Gore experience, the nation seems content with tedious due process.

    June 1, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Candy West Virginia

    THis is criminal, republicans will lie, cheat and steal to win an election. Doesn't he realize that he has ruined his career.

    June 1, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Candy West Virginia

    Mississippi Mike – no bud, you republicans have the 'stolen election' game down pretty well, even got the supreme court to side with you guys. And how are any votes 'junk votes' as you so inaptly named them. Let me guess you voted for bush twice didn't cha???

    June 1, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” to save a zygote now, so it can then kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.

    If the citizens of Minnesota are ok with being under represented in the Senate, why should any of the rest of us care.

    Must be a slow news day.

    June 1, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    This is why I will NEVER call myself a republican again!

    June 1, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Dennis

    Might as well seat Franken. This has been a big joke anyway. Minnesota sure knows how to pick 'em.

    June 1, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. Nefertiti

    The Franken-Coleman case will probably go to the Supreme court,
    that is, if they choose to take it. The RNC which means:
    R for Rush
    N for Newt and
    C for Cheney, will spend as much money deemed possible to stop
    Franken from representing the people of Minnesoto as long as possible. The RNC are sore losers. They are afraid of losing their
    power and hol on the 'Status Quo'. They are like small children
    running around screeming their heads off because somebody took their lollipop away. Come on fellas "get over it". You lost after the jobs
    went overseas, people started losing their homes, pension and etc.
    Oh, by the way you can thank your "good ole boys" Bush and Cheney
    for the KATRINA FIASCO. That's what did it for me.

    June 1, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. mike,texas

    The supreme court all ready ruled on this.Remember Florida,Bush.

    June 1, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. bess

    be assured: if Coleman were ahead by only 312 votes then Al Franken wouldn't go down without a fight and wouldn't concede until every possible vote was counted and recounted and counted again.

    June 1, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Imarriedmy sister in Mississippi

    Franken won.

    June 1, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. DaBird

    Al Franken is full of hate like most of the comments on this blog. Go Coleman.

    June 1, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. David

    Coleman's actions just represents his disregard for the American people which is in line with his party. They have no shame or conscious, only focused on greed and power at ANY cost.

    Here is how it will go down:
    The MN court will rule in Franken's favor, the secretary of state will sign off on the election.

    The republican governor will sign off, or risk even more nails in the coffin of the that long forgotten republican party.

    The republican leaders(?) will banish the governor from their circle.

    They will continue to worship their upside down 5-pointed star on their RNC logo, and conjure up more ways to bring darkness upon our nation and the world.

    June 1, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Bob of Lompoc

    Coleman appears as a bad loser. Americans don't like bad losers. Question: When you become a Republican, do you lose some of your brain cells ? They continually dive for the bottom, on every issue. As Reagan The Great would have said, " there they go again". Next Target: 19%.

    June 1, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Proud Member..Party of No

    It's always the same story.....dumbocrats lose an election then lie, cheat and steal their way through various recounts until they get just enough falsified or "found" votes until they take the lead. Then...boom.....it's over...no more counting and any further discussion becomes "republicans trying to steal the election".

    What a despicable party the dumbocrats are. They certainly have the correct mascot for their party.

    June 1, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. Linda, Phoenix, Arizona

    This is so ridiculous! The voters voted. Franken won – why must the Supreme Court even be involved? Coleman cares nothing for the people of Minnesota and has made a fool of himself for all the world to see. Does he think he still has a political career? Wrong! He has shown his state that he has no care for them only for himself and he is like a big sore loser!

    Sen Al Franken, come to the senate and take your rightful place.
    You won. We need your vote to stop these obstructionist Republicans who also care nothing for our nation, but only for their own necks. I wonder what you have to say about Cheney and Bush still defending horrific torture in our names?

    June 1, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Lisa, Laughlin NV

    Did anyone read the column...on November 6, 2008 (election day) the winner of the election granted by a small amount of votes was Coleman!

    All of a sudden votes were found in back seats of cars (this doesn't surprise anyone). Counties had more votes than people who registered (another surprise?).

    Norm Coleman had/has every right to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.

    What would I do? I would say that either both sides agree to a special election or agree to go along with the decision of the Supreme Court.

    June 1, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. Lori

    Coleman, you cannot buy the election like Bush did! Let it go. We need Franken to help the Democrats run this country properly.

    June 1, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. changing my screen name to see if it help getting my comments posted

    I'm sick of this Coleman! Let me and the rest of my fellow Minnesotans have our equal representation in the Senate.

    YOU LOST! WE VOTED YOU OUT!

    June 1, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. youmarriedyourmotherinnewyork

    Franken a real comedian, he should stay that way

    June 1, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. Linda from Minnesota

    The longer this goes on, the longer Coleman continues to fight, the more he shoots himself in the foot. Eventually those shots will be fatal and his political career will be over forever if it isn't already. He is a disgrace.

    For those of you who think Franken is a joke – he isn't. He's highly educated and intelligent. He's Saturday Night Live was a parody, not how he really is. He's thoughtful, intelligent and will work hard to the people of Minnesota....if he ever gets seated.

    June 1, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. MCD, SF,CA

    This is a PERFECT example of how the GOP operates... give them a loophole to jump thru and that makes it perfectly legal... voting, finances, torture.... what have you. Forget integrity. This is WHY they are no longer in control of the counrty. They don't care two bits about "The People"... it is all about control and money.

    I can understand wealthy people sticking with the party but I just DO NOT understand average citizens still backing this nonsense.

    June 1, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. stan

    phoenix86:
    Instead of listening to Fox News, read the bill. Acorn is not even mentioned, so how would it get 8 billion?

    June 1, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  25. Old Farmboy

    I really don't care who wins. I just feel sorry for the ones that took the time to vote and for whatever reason that vote did not count. Everyone's vote should count in this, just like any other election.

    June 1, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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