Seven months after Minnesota’s Senate election, the state’s highest court hasn’t reached a decision but election law experts agree: Norm Coleman doesn’t have a prayer.
These experts see almost no chance Coleman’s lawyers will prevail in their appeal to the state’s high court to count more ballots in a bid to erase Al Franken’s slim lead.
Peter Knapp, a professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, pointed to the court’s oral arguments on Monday, when the justices expressed skepticism toward Coleman’s lawyer, Joe Friedberg.
“Each of the five justices asked some questions that seemed to hone in on the absence of evidence,” said Knapp, an expert on the Minnesota Supreme Court who has kept a close eye on the case. “And when each of the five are asking those questions, that’s significant.”
He cautioned that “it’s really easy to over-read the judges’ questions as a sign of the way they’re leaning,” but added: “That being said, if I had to put money on the outcome – my money would be on Franken.”
Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, agreed: “Based on the questioning, I’d be surprised if Coleman got a remand back to the trial court.”
Foley said that Coleman’s lawyers “always had a fighting chance” based on legal theory — but, he pointed out, “having a valid legal theory is not enough to win a lawsuit.”
He and other legal scholars interviewed by POLITICO said that that the facts were simply not on Coleman’s side. Friedberg’s task this week was to convince the justices of his contention that more than 4,000 additional absentee ballots should be included in the final vote tally because they had not been handled in the same way by every county.
Back in April, Minnesota legal blogger Scott Johnson from the Power Line blog wrote a piece for National Review that summarized the situation there for both Coleman and Franken, and he noted that in spite of what it appeared like on the surface, that Franken was “not” trying to steal the election. Coleman’s post-election day strategy has just been deeply flawed – not only that, but in all honesty he wouldn’t be in this position if he had been a better Senator.
Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.