60! MN Supreme Court declares Al Franken senate winner in 5-0 decision

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Franken

Congratulations to Senator Al Franken and his wife Franni! Justice has been a long time in coming.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting State Supreme Court rules for Franken, 5-0:

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled today that Democrat Al Franken won the U.S. Senate election and said he was entitled to an election certificate that would lead to him being seated in the Senate.

"Affirmed," wrote the Supreme Court, unanimously rejecting Republican Norm Coleman's claims that inconsistent practices by local elections officials and wrong decisions by a lower court had denied him victory.

"Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled [under Minnesota law] to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota," the court wrote.

But the court did not grant Franken's bid to make its ruling effective immediately, possibly leaving a window for an appeal by Coleman before Gov. Tim Pawlenty is required to issue an election certificate.

"The bottom line is that the Court says that Franken is entitled to an election certificate, but there is no direct order to the state's governor to sign one," said Loyola Law School professor Richard Hasen, who has followed the case closely. "We'll see what the governor does, if Coleman does not concede, as he well may at this point."

Here are the Main points of the Supreme Court ruling:

[The Court] affirmed the three-judge panel's ruling that declared Franken the winner.

It made these additional points:

•Coleman did not establish that, by requiring proof that absentee voting standards were satisfied before counting a rejected absentee ballot, the trial court changed standards that violates Coleman's due process rights.

•Coleman didn't prove that either the trial court or local election officials violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.

•The three-judge panel did not abuse its discretion when it excluded additional evidence.

•The panel court ruled correctly when it included in the final election tally the election day returns of a precinct in which some ballots were lost before the manual recount.

Read the Opinion (PDF).

This past Sunday, Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) stated that "I'm going to follow the direction of the court" during an appearance on CNN. "We expect that ruling any day now. I also expect them to give guidance and direction as to the certificate of election. I'm prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light." Pawlenty says he'll follow court's ruling on Senate Pawlenty added: "I'm not going to defy an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court. That would be a dereliction of my duty."

Norm Coleman has scheduled a press conference for around 4:00 p.m. and Al Franken has scheduled a press conference for around 5:30 p.m. (CST) according to CNN, subject to change.

I have said this before, if Norm Coleman wants any future in politics in Minnesota he had better make a gracious concession speech and offer his support during the transition to Senator Al Franken. It's over.

UPDATE: It's official! Republican Norm Coleman ended his bruising eight-month court fight over Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat this afternoon, conceding to Democrat Al Franken after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Franken's favor. Court rules for Franken; Coleman won't appeal

"Furtrher litigation damages the unity of our state," he said during a news conference held at his St. Paul home. "The future today is that we have a new United States senator."

Coleman said he had called Franken to "congratulate him for his victory. I told him it's the best job he will ever have.

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