Coleman-Franken Arguments Heard in MN Supreme Court

Five justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the Senate seat battle between Norm Coleman and Al Franken.

Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg argued that the panel applied too strict a standard in deciding which absentee ballots to count and that they didn't adhere to the constitution in coming up with that tally.

This argument relies on the fact that poll workers rejected some ballots for reasons that were not considered grounds for rejection by poll workers in other counties. "Every county should come very close to applying the same standards," Friedberg told the justices.


Franken's attorney Marc Elias argued that these amounted to "minor variations," insufficient to trigger equal protection concerns.

"There are stories behind these ballots; there are reasons they were rejected," Elias said to the justices.

Franken said today he's confident the outcome will be in his favor.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Coleman's case is so bad, he;d probably lose in MO (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by steviez314 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:10:04 AM EST
    too..but you mean MN.

    thanks, fixed (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:20:50 AM EST
    I was doing two things at once, sorry.

    I just freaked reading this (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:13:40 AM EST
    I'm busy and I'm no attorney and just figured that Al had won, I've been waiting for the legal hoopla to get settled so Al can come to work and I can have my Al.  Now Missouri gets say :)?

    Minnesota, not MO (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:21:40 AM EST
    see above

    That was the best laugh I've (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by hairspray on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:18:46 PM EST
    had on this sorry mess!  I hope the folks in Minnessota (MO too!) will run Coleman out of town on a rail.

    That would not be Minnesota nice. (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:20:06 PM EST
    More likely, he will not be invited to bring a dish to pass at potlucks. A devastating punishment. :-)

    Sorry I meant Minnesota! (none / 0) (#20)
    by hairspray on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:39:56 PM EST
    Minnesohta? (none / 0) (#21)
    by MKS on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:35:02 PM EST
    I think Franken will win in this venue (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:15:48 AM EST
    And somehow I doubt the US SC will grant cert.

    If the US SC wont certify (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:17:05 AM EST
    What happens then?

    The Governor will be order to certify, (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:27:07 AM EST
    decide to certify on his own, or be ordered to certify in later state proceedings (at this point I think he has a ministerial duty to). After certification, Norm will probably contest the election in the Senate (which can choose to provisionally seat Franken). The Senate can then, and probably will, count the votes itself and make a decision.

    Thank you mucho for the rundown!!!!! (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:28:10 AM EST
    If Pawlenty does not certify (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 12:28:05 PM EST
    every Dem Congressman should go on TV and bellyache away over the partisanship of Republicans.  Could it be more naked than it is?

    Pawlenty will certify (none / 0) (#15)
    by KoolJeffrey on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:12:39 PM EST
    A clear majority of Minnesotans want Franken seated. If Pawlently decides to drag this out by not certifying Franken, he will be treading in dangerous waters. I'm not sure that's what he wants if he runs for POTUS.

    At this point he can say, "Hey, I did what the SC said I could". That should be good enough for GOP voters in 2012. Even Minnesota Democrats will be relieved if he ends this thing.

    Coleman on the other hand is finished. He will forever be viewed as a spoiled sport. Even rank and file conservatives have been calling on him to give it up months ago.


    Granting cert vs. certifying (none / 0) (#19)
    by denise k on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:23:53 PM EST
    These are two very different terms.  The SC "granting cert" has nothing to do with certifying the MN election.  It is just a term of art the SC uses when it decides to take cases that it otherwise would not be required to hear -- as opposed to appeals of right that it has to hear.  In order to "grant cert" (discretionary review) 4 of the 9 justices must agree to it.  If the Supreme Court does not grant cert, it won't hear the case about certifying the MN election.

    Don't let the similar terms confuse you.


    It cracked me up (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:16:44 AM EST
    but being a Midwesterner, I'm used to it.  Almost as odd as when the NY Times, in a front-page map, put Milwaukee where Minneapolis is.  All those darned M-words from our first nations here. :-)

    I read all of the briefs (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by eric on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:21:00 AM EST
    and listened/watched to the arguments today on an internet live feed.  As to the briefs, I was unimpressed with Coleman's arguments and was especially unimpressed with his Reply Brief.  It appeared to abandon all of his arguments except the "let's open more absentee ballots because, although they didn't comply with the law, they are good enough" argument.  It was almost as if he ran out of pages and didn't even reply on the other arguments.  Odd.

    At the oral argument, the questions were harsh for Coleman's lawyer.  Not the "devils advocate" type of questions, there were real "your argument sucks" type questions.


    It's harder to gin up outrage (none / 0) (#17)
    by oldpro on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 01:19:23 PM EST
    over uncounted absentee ballots when they don't come from soldiers in the Gulf or historically underserved AA precincts.

    Sort of reminds me of the butterfly ballot issue when thousands of presumably Jewish voters poked the hole for Buchannan.  As I recall, the answer to that concern was "too dumb to vote."

    Whether the election official designing that ballot was "too dumb to hold office" wasn't discussed enough, in my book.

    Elections.  Fraught with fraud and stupidity.


    Blind as bats (none / 0) (#22)
    by MKS on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 07:36:24 PM EST
    Not dumb.....

    Sen. Reid... (none / 0) (#13)
    by magster on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 11:49:35 AM EST
    ...will still find a way to allow Republicans to block Franken's swearing in, even if Franken wins the MNSC.