The Minnesota Supreme Court is hearing arguments today in the endless battle waged by Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken since last November's election concerning the vacant U.S. Senate seat.
Based on the latest recount, Coleman trails Franken by 312 votes.
Coleman wants the Court to order the count of roughly 4,400 rejected absentee ballots. Franken wants the dust-up to end and for Republican Gov.Tim Pawlenty to sign his certificate of election so he can take his seat that would ensure a filibuster-proof, 60-seat Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate that even Sen. Harry Reid couldn't mess up.
During the scheduled hour-long arguments before the Court (which includes three justices with solid GOP backgrounds and an appointee of Independent wrasslin' former Gov. Jesse "the Body" Ventura), Coleman's lawyers are expected to pursue claims that Coleman's equal protection rights were compromised by lax standards in deciding absentee ballot counting by some counties and a violation of due process based on alleged revised standards for deciding which absentee ballots to count after the electoral contest already was underway.
The 59-year-old Coleman, an attorney and former St. Paul Mayor who jumped to the GOP in 1996 from the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, served as U.S. Senator from 2003 through 2008. Franken, 58, is a former comic, writer and Air America commentator.
The odds on Coleman persuading the Minnesota Supreme Court are long. If he does not succeed, the possibility of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court within the mandated 90 days looms large.. The campaigns have spent an estimated $50 million to date on the contested seat.
Meanwhile, Minnesotans have relied on representation in the U.S. Senate from their other senator, elected in 2006, former prosecutor Amy Klobuchar (yeah, as if you knew that),
The protracted election fight not only is costly, but also is funnier than anything Al Franken has ever done. Still, he got more votes, so let him go to Washington.