On Monday, April 20, Norm Coleman filed an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court in an effort to overturn recount results – and a court decision – which found Al Franken the winner of the Senate race.
Franken’s attorneys filed a motion on April 21 requesting that Coleman’s arguments and documents be presented to the Minnesota Supreme Court by May 4 in the interest of expediency and for the sake of underrepresented Minnesotans. Today, the motion was denied and the court ordered that Coleman has until May 15 to file related documents and the case will be heard beginning June 1, 2009.
Although officially a nonpartisan body, the Minnesota Supreme Court weighs heavy on the republican side. The five judges who will hear the case are Justices Alan Page, Paul Anderson, Lorie Gildea, Helen Meyer and Christopher Dietzen. Pawlenty appointees Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and Justice G. Barry Anderson have recused themselves from the case citing their involvement in the recount. Justice Lorie Gildea contributed directly to the 1998 Coleman campaign but has not recused herself. Similarly, Justice Christopher Dietzen made a $500 contribution to Coleman’s Senate campaign. He has not, as of yet, recused himself either. Again, state supreme courts are nonpartisan but Dietzen and Gildea’s actions will undoubtedly be under scrutiny, as was Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s during the recount process. Ritchie is a democrat whose conduct during the recount has proved to be impeccably nonpartisan:
“The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State and election officials throughout Minnesota’s counties and cities are well-trained, fair, and conscientious and performed their duties admirably. Minnesota could not conduct elections without the hard work and diligence of its dedicated professional and citizen volunteers, and the Court is proud of their service.” – State of Minnesota Second District Court, April 13, 2009
Back on November 5, 2008 no winner was declared in this race and a recount was generated automatically in accordance with Minnesota election law. Even so, Coleman asked Franken to give him the race in an effort to “begin the healing process.” Almost six months later with Franken having been repeatedly found to be the winner in this race and a majority of Minnesotans (including one-third of Coleman’s supporters) believing he should concede, Coleman continues to fight.