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Franken Tells Minnesota Court to Butt Out; Let Harry Reid Decide Who Won

Not Usually the Sign of a Strong Case

Today Al Franken sought to eliminate the role of the Minnesota courts in deciding whether he won the state’s Senate election, and instead let Harry Reid decide:

Democratic candidate Al Franken made a bid Wednesday to short-circuit the court case that’s intended to give Minnesota a winner in its closely contested Senate race.

Attorneys for Franken argued that a state court should dismiss the lawsuit filed by Republican Norm Coleman because the three-judge panel designated to hear the case lacks jurisdiction for Coleman’s type of complaint.

The proper venue, Franken’s attorneys argued, is the U.S. Senate, which has the power to judge the election of its members.

This is amazingly transparent. If Franken is correct that the Senate ought to decide who won, then there’s nothing preventing the Senate from doing that today. In fact, the article later points out that Harry Reid himself says “The race in Minnesota is over… There’s no way, mathematically, the election results are going to change.” That being the case, what is Reid waiting for? If he is correct that there is no possibility that Coleman won the race, isn’t he honor bound to seat Franken, to help prevent Coleman from ‘stealing’ the seat? Or does he mean that Franken won, in the same way that the U.S. ‘lost’ the Iraq war?

But if the state of Minnesota is not the proper place to try this disputed outcome, why is it ever appropriate in any state? Does Franken intend for states to count the votes on election night, and then forward all the material to Washington, to let the Senate decide who won? It seems the logical implication.

Franken is doing now what he has done all along in this case: whatever it takes to get a seat in the Senate. Before he was willing to go to any lengths to extend the state recount. Now he’s doing whatever he can to end the process. It’s all about ensuring that the counting stops once he’s ahead.

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