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Franken-Coleman Update, 01/14/09: The Carve-Out and the Gang of (Sixty-) Four


Well, the schedule for hearing the Coleman contest has been issued — and it’s a doozy: The discovery’s allowed to go on until February 16, and the trial itself won’t start until February 23!   No wonder Al Franken’s asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to intervene so he can get his election certificate signed; they’re set to rule on his motion on February 5.  He’s asking the Soops to set up a "carve out", or exception to the "no cert so long as there’s a contest" rule, for Federal legislative branch seats similar to a carve out that already exists for state legislative branch seats. 

In the meantime, sixty-four Franken voters whose absentee ballots were wrongly rejected, but who were excluded from the official "fifth pile" count, are suing to have their ballots counted.   

Meanwhile, despite Coleman’s contest, the Senate Republicans know he’s doomed (h/t David Weigel of the MNIndy): 

 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have reached a tentative agreement that would give Democrats a three-seat advantage on most committees during the 111th Congress. […]

The major sticking point of the lengthy and sometimes difficult ratio negotiations — whether to count the still-unresolved Minnesota Senate election as a Democratic pickup — appears to have been resolved in Democrats’ favor.

[Sen. Debbie] Stabenow (D-Mich.) said the ratios she disclosed Tuesday assume Democrats will enjoy an effective 59-41 edge in the Senate as a whole, a margin the party would achieve only if they win Minnesota.

As Weigel says, would the Republicans have folded on this if they thought Coleman was going to win? Of course not.

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