Thanks to Republican resignation, Al Franken is close to becoming the monster the right has long dreaded.
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That’s not the kind of thinking that animates the landmark legal decision that ended the 2000 presidential election. Remember that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 in Bush v. Gore, which Coleman’s attorneys have repeatedly and appropriately invoked throughout the post-election process, that vote-counting has to be carried out uniformly. The general legal principle articulated by the high court was that the Equal Protection Clause requires that consistent standards be applied in the counting of ballots.
In the Coleman-Franken fight, it’s not just the problem of divining voter intent, but also a case of explaining how hundreds of votes materialized out of thin air. You are not alone if you feel the two points have never been properly explained.
As Michael Stokes Paulsen, professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, writes, “Minnesota is Bush v. Gore reloaded. The details differ, but not in terms of arbitrariness, lack of uniform standards, inconsistency in how local recounts were conducted and counted, and strange state court decisions.”
One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to see that Coleman got a raw deal and that, at a minimum, he deserves his day in court. He deserves to be heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court, and if need be, by the U.S. Supreme Court for a proper constitutional scrutiny consistent with the principles laid down in Bush v. Gore.
Even if Coleman’s attorneys were asleep at the wheel the public interest is served by having a full and proper counting of the ballots cast.
Will dragging out the battle hurt Republicans as Ponnuru suggests? It might, but considering the political stakes, it seems to be a risk worth taking.
A MoveOn.org email that went out to supporters yesterday speaks volumes.
Coleman’s fight is “cynical. It’s selfish. And it’s hurting Minnesotans — not to mention Obama’s ability to pass real health care reform, create millions of green jobs, and build a new-energy economy.”
I rest my case.