Al Franken has filed a petition in the Minnesota Supreme Court seeking an order for the issuance of a certificate of election. Franken argues that Minnesota law requires, and that federal law also preempts state law and requires, issuance of the certificate to him. With the election certificate, Franken seeks to be “provisisonally seated” in the Senate
Franken accordingly asks the Court to order Governor Pawlenty and Secretary of State Ritchie to issue the certificate that state law otherwise precludes them from issuing until the conclusion of the election contest that is proceeding in the Minnesota courts. Governor Pawlenty and Secretary of State Ritchie have elected to abide by state law and declined to issue Franken the election certificate.
Last month Franken’s attorneys sent a letter to Governor Pawlenty and Secretary Ritchie asking them to sign off on an election certificate that names Franken the winner of the election. Franken’s attorneys told reporters on a conference call that Pawlenty and Ritchie have a legal to sign. “We believe the law is clear,” said lead Franken attorney Marc Elias.
Yesterday Franken and Elias had their day in court. The Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral argument on Franken’s petition. Video of the argument is accessible here. The Court pressed Elias on the difficulties with his argument. If Elias didn’t visibly squirm, he at least sounded extremely uncomfortable.
Coleman was joined by the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General in opposition to Franken’s petition. Minnesota Solicitor General Alan Gilbert conceded that the Franken/Elias arguments were “creative,” but otherwise found no merit in them. Indeed, Gilbert stated that the State took the view that the certificate of election was not to issue until the conclusion of any appeals that might follow the election contest.
For want of Franken’s vote in the Senate, Elias pleads with the Court at the end of his argument, the Democrats’ sacred porkapoolaza package might be lost! Where is the laugh track when we really need it?
There is no legal merit in Franken’s arguments. None. Zilch. Nada. They are makeshift and makeweight. I estimate the probability of their success, on a scale of 0 to 100, somewhere between 0 and 1.
Why is Franken going through the exercise? Elias has taken to calling Franken “Senator-elect.” Like the legal arguments presented to the Court on Franken’s petition, the transparency of Franken’s pretense and Elias’s strategy are almost laughable. If I may recycle my own line, I would say they are as close to funny as Al Franken has gotten since the expiration of the Al Franken Decade in 1990.
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