Coleman begins Supreme Court appeal process

Chris Rizo Apr. 21, 2009, 3:00am

Norm Coleman (R)

Al Franken (D)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Legal Newsline)-Republican Norm Coleman on Monday filed court papers indicating that he is appealing his election loss to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Last week, a three-judge panel found that Democrat Al Franken won 312 more votes more than Coleman in the protracted race for Minnesota's second Senate seat.

In a statement, Coleman reiterated his claim that 4,400 absentee ballots should be counted.

"The Minnesotan Supreme Court is the right place for these issues to be heard, reviewed, and decided," Coleman said. "And, I believe that the voices of 4,400 Minnesotans hang in the balance, and with it, their rights to due process and equal protection."

Franken, the 57-year-old comedian-turned-politician, won the initial ballot recount in January by 225 votes. Coleman sued, contesting the election results.

Earlier this month, yet another ballot count gave Franken an edge. This time, he had a 312 vote lead over 59-year-old Coleman. The count was of 351 of 387 previously rejected absentee ballots. Forty-two of the ballots went to other and third-party candidates.

The outcome of the Minnesota Senate race could help affect the partisan balance in the U.S. Senate since a Franken victory would give Democrats 59 seats in the upper house -- counting the two independents who caucus with the Democrats -- which is just one vote shy of the number needed to break Republican filibusters.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the Democratic leadership team, has called on Coleman to concede the race. Meanwhile, some Senate Republicans, including John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, have said Coleman should appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

For his part, Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is considered to have national political aspirations, has said he will not certify the election until all the court challenges are resolved.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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