Franken files another lawsuit

Chris Rizo Jan. 14, 2009, 2:15am

Al Franken (D)

Norm Coleman (R)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Legal Newsline) - Democrat Al Franken has asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to force state officials to issue papers declaring him the winner of the Nov. 4 general election against incumbent Republican Norm Coleman.

By petitioning the state's high court Tuesday, Franken is trying to be seated in the U.S Senate without having to wait for the legal challenge by Coleman to be resolved.

Coleman is challenging the results of the statewide recount that left him 225 votes shy of Franken.

Franken's lawyers have requested a signed Senate certificate from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

Both officials denied the request Monday, saying they cannot issue the certificate until Coleman's challenge runs its course.

If Franken is seated in the Senate, it would increase the number of seats controlled by Democrats in the chamber to 59, just one shy of the 60 required to force a vote on legislation amid objections by Republicans.

Franken wrote for and starred on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" comedy program from 1975 to 1980 and again from 1985 to 1995. More recently, he hosted a radio show on liberal Air America Radio.

On Jan. 5, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the comedian-turned-politician in a separate matter, rejecting a Coleman request to include an additional 650 absentee ballots in the now-completed recount.

The Coleman camp specifically asked the Supreme Court to order counties to send all of their rejected absentee ballots to the secretary of state for review by the office and the two campaigns.

The court said the decision on what ballots to count was best left for the Board of Canvassers.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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