|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"More than 4,400 Minnesotans remain wrongly disenfranchised by this court's order," Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg said in a statement. "By its own terms, the court has included votes it has found to be 'illegal' in the contest to remain included in the final counts from Election Day, and equal protection and due process concerns have been ignored. For these reasons, we must appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court so that no voter is left behind."
The three-judge panel rejected Coleman's equal-protection arguments, saying that "errors or irregularities identified by contestants in the general election do not violate the mandates of equal protection."
The court's decision marks a new chapter in the race — one that will play out not just in the legal system but in the court of public opinion.
Even as the two sides were awaiting Monday's ruling, they were engaged in a message war — with Franken's allies amping up the pressure on Coleman to quit and Republicans blaming Franken for dragging out the process.
“The clock is ticking for Norm Coleman – and should he choose to drag this out longer with an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, it ought to be the end of the road,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said before the court ruled. “It is time for him to stop allowing national Republicans to hold the seat hostage to pursue their ideological agenda.”
In the days before the ruling, Coleman’s allies were increasingly trying to highlight what they see as a constitutional violation — that Minnesota counties used varying methods for tabulating thousands of absentee ballots. Moreover, they were arguing that the delay in seating a new Minnesota senator falls on Franken for trying to limit the review of some 4,400 ballots.
“I think the bigger problem is that Democrats want to end the contest before it has run its course,” said Ron Carey, chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party, which launched a petition drive urging Coleman to continue fighting in the courts.
Coleman himself has been making the rounds on conservative radio and TV talk shows to make an appeal that he’ll win eventually – an effort strategists say helps bolster Republican support nationally in a bid to help raise funds. And he’s been making the rounds in Minnesota to keep his backers behind him in the ongoing affair.
Franken, meanwhile, is trying to show that his seating is imminent, with a spokeswoman saying before the ruling came down that he is “spending time listening to Minnesotans and preparing to tackle these issues the minute he’s sworn in.”
The case heads next to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and a decision there likely won’t come until the end of May at the earliest. At that point, the loser has a choice — seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court or wage a new battle in federal district court.