Franken-Coleman Update, 03/04/09: Joe Friedberg is Confused
Great googly moogly. Yeah, I know that the Coleman camp is largely run by old Luddites (the Franken team’s data is stored on 64 gig thumb drives, while the Coleman team prefers paper), but really now: Is Joe Friedberg really that clueless when it comes to information technology? He apparently thought he was cleverly trapping the DFL (Democratic Farmer-Labor, our local flavor of Democratic Party) party tech guru, Jared Nordlund, on some point that somehow ‘proved’ the fallibility of computer databases and other things used during the election — but instead looked like a complete doofus. Afterward, Franken attorney Kevin Hamilton, quizzing Ramsey County election official Joe Mansky, got in a few zings at Friedberg’s cluelessness by suggesting that he volunteer to be trained as an election judge — "Even he would learn something about that" — right before the judges signaled a recess.
Meanwhile, one of the regulars on The UpTake’s liveblog, aonanodad, reminded us of this passage in a 02/24/09 Minnesota Public Radio article:
While Pawlenty said it’s possible that the election certificate may have to wait until the appeals are finished on both the state and federal level, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann said the election certificate should be issued sooner than that.
"Our opinion is that once all of the state appeals have been exhausted, it appears that the governor could issue an election certificate but the attorney general’s office has reserved the right to do further research on this issue," he said.
In other words, Gelbmann said the election certificate can be issued after the three-judge panel makes its ruling, unless the loser appeals the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Two legal scholars agree on that interpretation of state law. But they disagree over how clear the law is on that matter.
"In my view, the final determination of the contest is what happens at the state supreme court, but one should admit that the statute is not 100 percent clear on that point," said University of Minnesota law professor Guy Charles.
"Minnesota law is clear that once a court of proper jurisdiction, whether it’s the three-judge panel if there’s no appeal or the Minnesota Supreme Court if there is an appeal, once that court has finally determined the contest, that’s when the election certificate issues," said Raleigh Levine, a professor at William Mitchell College of law.
Charles said the law doesn’t say exactly when an election certificate should be issued.
"There’s nothing in the statute that specifically says ‘this is when it must be done.’ The statute is a little bit ambiguous in that regard," he said. "It simply says ‘when a court of proper jurisdiction has finally determined the contest.’"
In other words, the Minnesota Supreme Court could order an election certificate be issued even if Norm tries to appeal to the Federal courts system — which is unlikely as he has nothing with which to Federalize the case. So what we’re probably looking at is this scenario: Franken finishes case, ECC rules in his favor; Coleman appeals to the Minnesota Supreme Court; Court denies his appeal and orders up Franken’s election certificate; Coleman and Republicans whine impotently as Franken is seated.
Speaking of whineage, Norm Coleman continued to do outside of court what his own official court officers don’t dare do in any courtroom for fear of rightfully getting sanctioned out the wazoo — which is to cast unsupported aspersions at the judges, all of them respected jurists, on the Election Contest Court:
In his own comments to reporters on Tuesday, Coleman raised doubts about the ability of the three-judge panel to determine who won the election. "Clearly there is a question about whether this court can certify who got the most legally cast ballots," he said.
Yes, folks, Team Coleman, outside the courtroom, has tried to win by slandering the judges. (They’ve come awfully to doing so inside the courtroom, too — the only reason there haven’t been any heavy-duty sanctions yet, aside from the one they got for their malfeasance with the Howell witness, is because the judges don’t want to give Coleman’s people any openings to make an appeal.) Franken has been quick to notice the Coleman camp reliance on smearing dozens if not hundreds of honest citizens and judges:
Of Coleman’s case, Franken said his opponent "has chosen to attack the Minnesota court system, to attack the elections officials and to try to erase Minnesota voters’ votes. I know he’s disappointed, but we’ve come through a fair election, a fair and very meticulous recount and we’re going through now a very fair court challenge. I think it’s time now that we address the people’s business."