Al Franken Won: Minnesota Supreme Court – Coleman Concedes

In a 5-0 decision, the state’s highest court ordered that Al Franken be declared the winner.

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.

No surprise, really.  One would think Norm Coleman about out of options but this thing has managed to go on seemingly forever.

I’ve maintained from the beginning of this fiasco that 1) the election was for all intents and purposes a tie and 2) Coleman, who was ahead when the initial counting stopped — and after the initial recount! — and saw some really weird things go against him, had every right to fight this in court but that 3) it has long been apparent that Franken was going to win and all Coleman’s tactics were achieving was denying Minnesotans their just representation in the Senate and therefore 4) he should have quit this farce some time back.  It’s time to accept the inevitable and move on.

UPDATE:  Coleman has conceded.

“The Supreme Court has made its decision and I will abide by the results,” Coleman told reporters outside his St. Paul home. “In these tough times we all need to focus on the future, and the future is that we have a new United States senator,” Coleman said.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Law and the Courts, US Politics, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Well, now we’ve got a professional comedian in the Senate rather than just all of the amateurs we’ve had for all of these years.

  2. Billy says:

    It’s time to accept the inevitable and move on.

    But will this actually happen? GOP leaders would almost certainly have otherwise if it were up to them.

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  4. Idiot says:

    So Coleman was ahead and then really strange things happened and Coleman was behind. So Coleman should just give up. Got it.

    James you proved a quote I heard once attributed to Stalin. “It doesn’t matter who votes, but who counts the votes.”

    Nice.

  5. just me says:

    I am still curious to know if there was ever a case where a republican was the loser in a close election on election night and in the recount won the election. I can’t think of a single one that has gotten national attention. Democrats are just too good at finding enough votes.

    The writing on the wall was on this one a long time ago though. But I don’t think Coleman should have quit on this one-this one stinks to high heaven IMO even if there isn’t any way to actually prove where the stink is coming from or what caused it.

    I would like to see in the future close elections like this one decided with a run off or I will even go with the coin flip solution-at least with a coin flip nobody is finding votes in their trunks.

  6. James Joyner says:

    So Coleman was ahead and then really strange things happened and Coleman was behind. So Coleman should just give up. Got it.

    My argument, made at greater length in the linked posts, was that Coleman can accomplish nothing in a futile fight and that he was better off retaining the moral high ground. There was simply no conceivable way that he was going to win once Franken’s “win” was certified.

    The election was frustrating for Republicans but there’s no evidence that Franken or his camp did anything untoward.

  7. An Interested Party says:

    So Coleman was ahead and then really strange things happened and Coleman was behind. So Coleman should just give up. Got it.

    Oh, what the hell, blame it on ACORN…some of you know you want to…

  8. tiredgramma says:

    “Coleman, who was ahead when the initial counting stopped — and after the initial recount! — and saw some really weird things go against him, had every right to fight this in court”- Just proves that there is right and then there is terribly wrong.If you ask me there has been way too many questions regarding voting in the elections of 2008. And we criticize and monitor other countries to catch voter fraud. Now that ACORN is international, we should see a lot more investigations.

  9. PD Shaw says:

    U.S. Supreme Court!!! U.S. Supreme Court!!! U.S. Supreme Court!!!

  10. PD Shaw says:

    World Court!!! World Court!!! World Court!!!

  11. Alex Knapp says:

    I am still curious to know if there was ever a case where a republican was the loser in a close election on election night and in the recount won the election. I can’t think of a single one that has gotten national attention. Democrats are just too good at finding enough votes.

    You’re kidding, right?

  12. It’s time to accept the inevitable and move on.

    Oh, I don’t know, there’s always the Honduran solution… 🙂

  13. An Interested Party says:

    Oh, I don’t know, there’s always the Honduran solution… 🙂

    Perhaps that should have been attempted in, say, 2000…that, if successful, would have saved us all a lot of grief…

  14. Furhead says:

    My memory is (thankfully) fading quickly on this one, but the only questionable ruling I remember is the one where a bunch of ballots disappeared so they decided to use the election night count for those. I can’t remember if this decision alone would have changed the outcome.

    If so, we could re-debate that particular ruling. If not, someone is going to remind me of another questionable decision. As far as I know, nothing “strange” happened. The fact is, and I think James has said this before, but Franken legally won by the rules we have, which include recounts.

    Oh, and props to Dave Shuler’s zinger.

  15. James Joyner says:

    As far as I know, nothing “strange” happened. The fact is, and I think James has said this before, but Franken legally won by the rules we have, which include recounts.

    I agree with the second point but not the first. The mysterious “finding” of ballots well after the vote is strange and frustrating. I have no evidence that this was anything other than human error but that doesn’t make it less strange or frustrating.

  16. Brett says:

    They badly needed a run-off election for this one.

  17. naati says:

    It is fair and acceptable to request a recount. Taking eight months to decide a winner is too long.

  18. odograph says:

    Does he have any time left to serve?

  19. mpw280 says:

    The people of Minn deserve exactly what they get by electing this stooge. I don’t want to hear any Minn residents bitching about taxes or spending when they elect a fool of this magnitude to the senate, for as the old testament says as you sow so shall you reap.

    mpw

  20. just me says:

    You’re kidding, right?

    Nope I am not. Do you have a link to some cases?

  21. G.A.Phillips says:

    You ever notice how much Al Franken looks like the Democrats mascot…….

  22. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m sure that in the right light he looks exactly like Eleanor Roosevelt.

  23. davod says:

    “Coleman can accomplish nothing in a futile fight and that he was better off retaining the moral high ground.”

    Ah. The moral high ground. The Democrats are at war and you want the Republicans to be gentlemen.

    Didn’t someone mention that Coleman was winning at the first and second stages. Why didn’t Franken concede?

  24. An Interested Party says:

    The people of Minn America deserve exactly what they get by electing this stooge [named Bush]. I don’t want to hear any Minn American residents bitching about taxes deficits or spending [or nation building] when they elect a fool of this magnitude to the senate presidency, for as the old testament says as you sow so shall you reap.

    Happy to help…

  25. Franklin says:

    In addition to Franken, Minnesotans have also elected Michelle Bachmann and a certain former pro wrestler (although Jesse is obviously the most sane one of the bunch … I would probably consider him completely sane if not for his 9/11 conspiracy theories).

  26. Franklin says:

    just me-

    Ever hear of George W. Bush?

  27. floyd says:

    What’s the big deal? We in Illinois haven’t had a legitimate election in decades!?!

    It looks like the Bolsheviks have won anyway, with or without this BOZO, and we are well on our way to 75years of Soviet style “prosperity”.

    Can Americans really become comrades in chains?
    YES WE CAN!

  28. tom p says:

    I am still curious to know if there was ever a case where a republican was the loser in a close election on election night and in the recount won the election. I can’t think of a single one that has gotten national attention. Democrats are just too good at finding enough votes.

    Some time ago, when James posited this same question, I asked, “How is it that Republicans win the initial count, but when they actually get into the nitty gritty of the actual votes, Dem’s always win????”

    Never did get a satisfactory answer… But if one is looking for vote rigging, it seems to be easier to do it with the computer, not the paper.

    Just a look at things from the other side of the mirror, JM.

  29. An Interested Party says:

    re: floyd June 30, 2009 20:54

    Here’s hoping that you are carted off to the nearest reeducation camp real soon…

  30. just me says:

    Never did get a satisfactory answer… But if one is looking for vote rigging, it seems to be easier to do it with the computer, not the paper.

    Unless of course you are pulling ballots out of the trunk of your car or discovering them in the corner of a basement etc.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    So…who likes this comparison

  32. PD says:

    C’mon Norm, at least let the Guardian Council look at the ballots; it would just take a few hours to get a top-certified tally.

  33. floyd says:

    Aip;
    At least I have an education,Where would they cart you off too? … an education camp?

    I also notice you put a great deal of credence in talk show hosts from both sides, Limbaugh is hardly Senate material either.

  34. An Interested Party says:

    At least I have an education…

    So you claim…

    Where would they cart you off too?

    No where, as I do not believe in the ridiculous Soviet-style future fantasy world that you have created in your supposed “educated” mind…

    I also notice you put a great deal of credence in talk show hosts…

    Not at all, what you mistake for “credence” is actually ridicule…

  35. floyd says:

    “So you claim…”
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    No, actually… So YOU claim, one can hardly be REeducated unless one is first educated.

    I apologize for missing your ridicule of Franken, and will accept that it was implied.

    BTW; “2+2 still equals 4 [at least outside the reeducation camps]

  36. Eric Florack says:

    Ponder, my freinds, after all of that…. ending up with Stuart Smalley being the face of the Democrat party.

  37. G.A.Phillips says:

    At least I have an education,Where would they cart you off too? … an education camp?

    lol, I would recommend a 30 day program to get him of the Coolaid first.

    Detoxify baby…..

  38. An Interested Party says:

    No, actually… So YOU claim, one can hardly be REeducated unless one is first educated.

    Actually, “reeducation camp” is just a euphemism (one would think an educated person would know that) for a nasty place where totalitarian governments send people, and since you seem to think that’s where our government is headed, you’ll be first on the list to go to such a place…and yes, 2+2 equals 4, but that doesn’t mean we’re on the road to communism…

    lol, I would recommend a 30 day program to get him of the Coolaid first.

    This from a person who doesn’t even believe in evolution…pardon me if I’m underwhelmed…

  39. fester says:

    @ Tom P — on the question why Democratic candidates tend to gain net votes on a recount and recanvass as well as the inclusion of provisional ballots:

    Class and access.

    Democrats have proportionally much higher levels of elecotral support from individuals who are marginally connected to civil society. These classes of individuals are statistically more likely to not completely fill out the ballot exactly as specified but can demonstrately show their clear intent on whom they wanted to vote for (for example filling in the circle for Franken and writing next to the circle “Al Franken”). Where the law allows for clear demonstration of intent to count as a vote in a recanvass or a recount, that will produce a net increase in votes for Democrats.

    And the same applies to provisional voters. Provisional ballots tend to be distributed to individuals who are newly registered voters, younger, more transient, and less white. Any of those characteristics are Democratic vote leaning characteristics in the past few cycles. Again, if the race is close and the provisionals are resolved, this will lead to a net vote gain for Democrats.

  40. An Interested Party says:

    re: fester July 1, 2009 14:43

    You mean it isn’t an ACORN conspiracy!?! How shocking!!! Who knew…

  41. An Interested Party says:
  42. G.A.Phillips says:

    This from a person who doesn’t even believe in evolution…pardon me if I’m underwhelmed…

    Why the **** would I believe in evolution anymore, It’s a lie, lol, dude……there is no PAAAAAARRROOOOOFFfffff, there is not but a blind faith, it’s a fiction of liberal imag..er,indoctranation…..

    Grow up and fear God for the right reasons…….

  43. floyd says:

    Aip;
    “2+2 equals 4” was reference to Kipling’s “Gods of the Copybook Headings” which inspired Orwell to use it in his book “1984” as a symbol of futile resistance. It was an implied reference to tyranny, not specifically communism.

    Enjoy your “brave new world”! Another phrase from Kipling’s same poem which inspired Huxley’s book, which is also a good read.

    Still… I recommend Kipling’s poem, it says more in one page than than Axelrod’s puppet could read from his monitor in a month.

    “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–forever.”
    Unless of course…. “The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!”

  44. An Interested Party says:

    Some of you sound as ridiculous, if not worse, than many of the liberals who were complaining during the Bush years…how interesting to see the shoe on the other foot…I hope you enjoy the next 4-8 years as I’m sure you will be provided with many opportunities to bitch and complain…

  45. davod says:

    For those of you still reading this long thread you might want to read this summary at Powerline:

    Al Franklin Won Minnesota

    This short part part towards the end of the article does not do the article justice but it is concise.

    “JOHN adds: We are left with the realization that every Republican in a statewide race here in Minnesota starts a few thousand votes in the hole, due to the disparate standards for judging absentee ballots used in Republican-leaning versus Democratic-leaning counties. Of course, that understates the case: the Republican starts out farther behind than that, due to illegal votes that cannot be prevented because of the Democratic Party’s blocking of a photo ID requirement. We have no real idea of the magnitude of this disadvantage.

    I have little doubt that Coleman received more legal, properly cast votes than Franken. But the election wasn’t “stolen;” not during the post-election phase, anyway. Elections are a human institution, and as such are imperfect. The process in Minnesota is pretty good, but when an election is basically a tie, minor imperfections loom large.

    The moral of the story, I guess, is that Republican counties should loosen their absentee ballot standards; that is to say, quit following the law.”