We're inching closer to seeing Senator Franken in Washington. The Minnesota Election Contest Court, a three-judge panel, issued a unanimous decision yesterday that Franken won the election and should be given the official certificate of election declaring him a winner and allowing him to be seated in the Senate.
The court's 68-page ruling was apparently so thorough and it so utterly dismantled Coleman's central arguments that Republicans did not have a response for a long time. I'm still not sure what their response is.
Al Franken should now be seated in the Senate. If Norm Coleman wants to throw away more money on appeals or new lawsuits, fine. But this isn't even controversial anymore: Franken won. It was really close. Deal with it. Seat Franken, and then let Coleman decide what he wants to do.
For Coleman, it now comes down to weighing his options:
1. On one hand, Republicans simply want to delay adding another Democrat to the Senate for as long as possible, even if the legal reasoning for more appeals is pretty silly. That's why Coleman has been raising so much money from national Republicans. It's easier for Republicans to filibuster in the Senate when there are 58 (instead of 59) Democrats.
2. On the other hand, Republicans as a whole don't mind looking silly, but Norm Coleman might. Taking this thing even further and continuing to deny Minnesota a senator could ruin his political future in the state.
In other words Norm can either continue to please his powerful GOP buddies (who could help him in a future presidential primary), or he can do what's politically best for him in the state of Minnesota (Governor Coleman anyone? No thank you.)
Either way, Franken won. Still. Again.