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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
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The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Update: Coleman may throw in towel if he loses at MN Supreme Court, according to Roll Call 'sources'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/3/2009 4:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) informed MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell:

I can't sign the certificate until the State court process is complete. We don't know who the winner is, but as soon as that process is complete and they give direction as to signing the certificate, I'm going to sign it…

Pawlenty's remarks are consistent with MN Election Law as interpreted [PDF] by the MN Supreme Court in Franken v. Pawlenty. (The latest MN Supreme Court action in Coleman v. Franken was recently covered here). MN law prevents either Governor Pawlenty (R) or Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (D) from signing the certificate once an election contest has commenced and before it is completed in state court. It is also consistent with the legal argument presented by Al Franken in his MN Supreme Court brief [PDF] that the MN Supreme Court should order the Governor and Secretary of State to perform what amounts to a "ministerial duty" to sign and countersign the certification of election upon the completion of the state court process. This statement follows, within one day, Pawlenty's announcement that he would not seek a third term as Governor.

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter 'FreedomOfInformationAct']

UPDATE 6/4/09: Roll Call now reports that Coleman also may be ready to throw in the towel if he loses at the MN Supremes: "Sources close to Coleman say the former Senator would likely give up his legal battle and accept defeat if the Minnesota Supreme Court decides in Franken's favor. That's because Coleman anticipates that Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) would ultimately sign Franken's certification papers."

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Coleman Attny: 'Send it back to 3-judge panel'; Franken Attny: 'Confident' he'll be seated...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/1/2009 10:42am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

From their respective press conferences following today's oral argument at the Minnesota Supreme Court on former Senator Norm Coleman's appeal of the results of his U.S. Senate election contest...

"We are asking that the court send it back to the three judge panel to apply the same standard as election night...Our case is in the offers of proof." - Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg

"The most important question is how long it will take to enfranchise 4,000 Minnesotans." - Former Senator Norm Coleman

"With a ruling from the State Supreme Court we’ll be at the end of this process...I am confident that at the end of the process...Al Franken will be seated." - Franken attorney Marc Elias

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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'Virtually identical' to previous arguments, legal team says; Also seeking order directing Gov & SoS to certify Franken's electoral victory
Oral argument set for June 1...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/12/2009 3:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

During a news conference yesterday (video here courtesy of Marc Elias, representing Sen.-elect Al Franken in the election contest brought by former Sen. Norm Coleman, announced the filing of Franken's brief [PDF] responding to Coleman's appeal [PDF] of the decision by the tri-partisan, three-judge election contest panel's ruling which found: "Franken received the highest number of lawfully cast ballots in the November 4, 2008 general election for United States Senator and is entitled to receive the certificate of election."

Noting that, because of its ability to make credibility determinations, a trial court's factual findings are entitled to "great deference" in an appeal, Elias observed that Coleman had a "heavy burden" in showing that the three-judge panel erred on the facts and the law. He says it's a burden the Coleman team has not met in their appellate arguments. Elias noted that the legal contentions made in Coleman's opening brief were "virtually identical" to those that were made and rejected by the three-judge panel.

We discussed Coleman's arguments, and the three-judge panel's rejection of them, last month in 'For Coleman, the End is Near...'. As our legal analysis detailed, we agree with Elias' May 11, 2009 assertion that the Coleman legal challenge is "without merit."

For example, per Elias, Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg continues to tell the media that 4,400 uncounted absentee ballots were improperly rejected, but as we observed...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2009 12:22pm PT  

A few quick-hit gems worth noting from Josh Marshall and David Kurtz at TPM over the last day or two...


Anticipate Karl Rove's long-awaited testimony before Congress about the US Attorney firings sometime in early June, Rove's lawyer tells TPMmuckraker.


Not to be outdone in an effort to eke out a few more minutes in the spotlight, Joe The Plumber announces he too has had enough and is leaving the Republican party.

Of course, in Joe's case, it does raise the question of what party or militia he's leaving the GOP to join. Any ideas?


Number of Gitmo detainees that the GOP hopes to keep off mainland U.S. soil with its "Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act": roughly 250.

Number of Axis POWs detained in camps on the U.S. mainland at the end of WWII: roughly 425,000.


Can it really be true that the list of Americans who will appear on the Sunday shows this weekend is David Petraeus, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and John McCain?

I guess it really is a center-right nation.

Our observation on the final item above: Looks like those old "Liberal Media" are still partying like it's 1999 2007. Color us shocked. Shocked!

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By Brad Friedman on 5/7/2009 4:45pm PT  

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): "My hope is that our Democratic colleagues - if you start listening to the bloggers - if we're going to let the bloggers run the country, then the country's best days are behind us."

Out of touch much, Senator? We suspect if the bloggers actually did run the country, we'd be much better off (if only because you'd be out of office.)

But perhaps Graham is confusing responsible, educated "bloggers" with the right-wingnut "bloggers" he's likely more familiar with. For example, here's the very popular (on the Right) Dijon deranged wingnut "Gateway Pundit," Jim Hoft, with his insightful perspective on the important news of the day yesterday:

They're just two ordinary metrosexual guys going out for a burger ... Obama and Biden, two ordinary guys, go out for a sandwich and Obama asks for Dijon mustard at Joe's Hell Burger. ...I hear it's delish with arugula lettuce. Yum-Yum.

If that's who you meant by "bloggers," Senator --- and we're ashamed that Hoft represents our former hometown of St. Louis, MO --- we might agree with you.

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The former FBI translator and whistleblower suggests blackmail may be at the heart of Congressional refusal to bring accountability and oversight to its own members - such as both Hastert and Harman - in matters of espionage and national security
Exclusive to The BRAD BLOG...
By Sibel Edmonds on 5/4/2009 1:41pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Sibel Edmonds

I have been known to quote long-dead men in my past writings. Whether eloquently expressed thoughts by our founding fathers, or those artfully expressed by ancient Greek thinkers, these quotes have always done a better job starting or ending my thoughts - that tend to be expressed in long winding sentences. For this piece I am going to break with tradition and start with an appropriate quote from a living current senator, John Kerry: "It's a sad day when you have members of Congress who are literally criminals go undisciplined by their colleagues. No wonder people look at Washington and know this city is broken."

The people do indeed look at Washington and know that this city is 'badly' broken, Senator Kerry. The public confidence in our Congress has been declining drastically. Recent poll results highlight how the American people's trust in their Congress has hit rock bottom. A survey of progressive blogs easily confirms the rage rightfully directed at our Congress for abdicating its role of oversight and accountability. Activists scream about promised hearings that never took place - without explanation. They express outrage when investigations are dropped without any justification. And they genuinely wonder out loud why, especially after they helped secure a major victory for the Democrats. The same Democrats who had for years pointed fingers at their big bad Republican majority colleagues as the main impediment preventing them from fulfilling what was expected of them.

The recent stunning but not unexpected revelations regarding Jane Harman (D-CA) by the Congressional Quarterly provide us with a little glimpse into one of the main reasons behind the steady decline in the integrity of Congress. But the story is almost dead - ready to bite the dust, thanks to our mainstream media's insistence on burying 'real' issues or stories that delve deep into the causes of our nation's continuous downward slide. In this particular case, the 'thank you' should also be extended to certain blogosphere propagandists who, blinded by their partisanship, myopic in their assessments, and ignorant in their knowledge of the inner workings of our late Congress and intelligence agencies, helped in the post-burial cremation of this case.

Ironically but understandably, the Harman case has become one of rare unequivocal bipartisanship, when no one from either side of the partisan aisle utters a word. How many House or Senate Republicans have you heard screaming, or even better, calling for an investigation? The right wing remains silent. Some may have their hand, directly or indirectly, in the same AIPAC cookie jar. Others may still feel the heavy baggage of their own party's tainted colleagues; after all, they have had their share of Abramoffs, Hasterts and the like, silently lurking in the background, albeit dimmer every day. Some on the left, after an initial silence that easily could have been mistaken for shock, are jumping from one foot to the other, like a cat on a hot tin roof, making one excuse after another; playing the 'victims of Executive Branch eavesdropping' card, the same very 'evil doing' they happened to support vehemently. Some have been dialing their trusted guardian angels within the mainstream media and certain fairly visible alternative outlets. They need no longer worry, since these guardian angels seem to have blacked out the story, and have done so without the apparent need for much arm twisting...

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Senator-elect Franken, when seated, will give democrats a filibuster-proof majority...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/28/2009 1:06pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The New York Times just reported:

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said on Tuesday he would switch to the Democratic party, presenting Democrats with a possible 60th vote and the power to break Senate filibusters as they try to advance the Obama administration’s new agenda.

Specter's announcement reflects an estrangement from the increasingly authoritarian, hard-right ideologues who now control the shattered remnants of the Republican Party. In California, the Republican Party passed a resolution to deny funding to six Republican lawmakers who joined with Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats, passing a budget to prevent this state from falling into an economic abyss. In the U.S. House of Representatives, every Republican acted as one to say “no” to a vital stimulus, offering only the very measures that led to the current economic meltdown—tax cuts for the wealthy. Three Republican Senators, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, had no sooner broke ranks in voting for a compromise version of the stimulus package before they found themselves targeted by conservative groups, with Specter facing a primary challenge from hard-right Republican Pat Toomey.

It is a testament to how far the remnants of the Republican Party have moved to the right that RNC Chairman Michael Steele suggests Specter would have been defeated by Toomey because of the former moderate Republican's "left-wing voting record."

As we pointed out previously, upon the anticipated denial of former Senator Norm Coleman's appeal by the MN Supreme Court, Senator-elect "Franken...would be in a solid position --- legally and politically --- to then lobby the Senate hard and directly for an immediate seating, even if Coleman chooses to continue his fool's errand with an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court." Franken would become the 60th member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, ending the ability of the 'Party of No' to block the Democratic agenda --- unless either Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe beat him to it.

UPDATE 4/29, 5:55pm PT: In an op-ed appearing in today's New York Times Senator Snowe observed that "being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member of 'Survivor' --- you are presented with multiple challenges, and you often get the distinct feeling that you’re no longer welcome in the tribe." Whether that means that she would be prepared to follow Specter off the reservation remains to be seen.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/20/2009 9:51pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Operating out of an undisclosed location, former Sen. Norm Coleman's attorney, Ben Ginsberg, announced that the Coleman legal team had filed a notice of appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the three-judge panel decision [PDF] declaring that Al "Franken received the highest number of lawfully cast ballots in the November 4, 2008 general election for United States Senator and is entitled to receive the certificate of election."

Ginsberg asserted that the appeal was based on the same contentions made during the course of the election contest, especially as it relates to equal protection and an alleged disenfranchisement of some 4,400 Minnesota voters.

Franken attorney, Marc Elias, responded, noting that five of the six claims made by Coleman's appeal seek not to add additional votes but to delete votes already counted. Elias announced on that he plans to file a motion on Tuesday with the MN Supreme Court asking that the court order expedited briefing, with Coleman's brief to be filed by Monday Apr. 27, and Franken's response on May 2.

There's not a whole lot new or unexpected yet here, for the moment, though a review of the political balance of the MN Supreme Court who will hear Coleman's appeal is probably worth a quick look, right about now...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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The MN Contest Court's air-tight, 68-page decision leaves no room for doubt: Franken won; But when will he be seated?
We take a look at his options...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/16/2009 3:48pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

“This long delay in the seating of Minnesota’s second U.S. Senator has come at a time when our state badly needs help from Washington. Since Election Day, Minnesota has lost 56,000 jobs. Since Election Day more than 9,000 Minnesota families have lost their homes to foreclosure.”
--Senator-elect Al Franken (D-MN), 4/13/09 statement

The Monday, April 13, 2009 decision [PDF] came as as no surprise, certainly not here at The BRAD BLOG where we concluded on Feb. 22, 2009 that former Sen. Norm Coleman’s legal challenge to the Jan. 5, 2009 bi-partisan MN state canvassing board's determination that Al Franken had won the U.S. Senate election was “dead in its tracks.”

Earlier this month, at a time when the mainstream media got it wrong, we accurately reported that the April 7, 2009 order [PDF] meant that the last of the lawfully cast votes had been counted; that Franken won, and; Coleman lost. We went on to predict that the three-judge panel would likely “provide a written explanation of its denial of any other relief…when it enters a final judgment…” We added: “But make no mistake. There are no more votes to be counted. 312 votes is the margin of victory for Al Franken over Norm Coleman.”

In fact, there were no more votes to be counted, as we reported, even as the bulk of the rest of the media hedged their bets. So with the votes all tallied determining that Franken was the victor, and Coleman lacking any legitimate legal recourse, what are Franken's legal and political options, and when might he finally take his rightful seat in the U.S. Senate?...

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World's most influential news outlet 'breaks' the news again
Downplays the WINNER of the U.S. Senate race in MN, following final ruling from bi-partisan state election contest court...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2009 5:09pm PT  

That's right, according to AP tonight, following the just released final ruling [PDF] from the 3-judge election contest court in Minnesota, Senator-elect Al Franken (D-MN) is not the "winner" of the election. Rather, he's merely the "leading vote-getter."

Are they kidding?! "Leading vote-getter"?! Apparently not.

Will that be how AP reports the results of elections on Election Nights from now on? The one with the most votes counted in the unofficial results will be the "leading vote-getter"? Somehow, we've got the feeling that AP's headline refers only to this race, and only since it's Franken, not Coleman, who actually won.

As The BRAD BLOG pointed out late last week, Franken isn't "leading" as the New York Times, MSNBC and others reported it last week after the court's final tally of all lawfully cast ballots concluded. And he certainly isn't the "leading vote-getter." Franken won. After one of the most painstaking and transparent hand counts, and then one of the longest election contests in U.S. history, it has been determined that Franken received more lawfully cast votes than anybody else in the race. Period. Furthermore, he has no legal leg to stand on in his likely appeal(s), as we detailed last week. All of that makes Franken the winner of the election, and former Sen. Norm Coleman the loser.

If Coleman wishes to try to overturn Franken's win --- and he's promised an appeal to the MN Supreme Court at the very least --- that's up to him. But Franken won the election. Got that AP? New York Times, et al?! Is that so difficult to report accurately?!

UPDATE 5:41pm PT: The rest of the media, other than AP, appear to be doing better in reporting on Franken's win tonight...

UPDATE 7:13pm PT: NY Times' headline: "In Minnesota, Another Blow to Coleman". Apparently "the paper of record" continues it's allergy to the word "win," along with AP. Downplaying the facts of the matter, Adam Nagourney writes tonight:

By any measure, this latest ruling – the latest in a string against Mr. Coleman – further diminishes his hopes of holding on to his seat.

"Further diminishes his hopes of holding onto his seat"?! That, despite the rather clear pronouncement in the MN court's ruling today [PDF]:

Franken received the highest number of lawfully cast ballots in the November 4, 2008 general election for United States Senator for the State of Minnesota and is entitled to receive the certificate of election.

Is that unclear?! In most worlds, other than the Times' and AP's in 2009, that would mean Franken has won. But the Times, like AP, just can't seem to say it. Now why would that be?

UPDATE 7:53pm PT: A commenter at DU notes wryly:

And in AP Sports...
Pittsburgh Steelers Leading Touchdown-Scorer
UNC Tarheels Leading Basket-Maker
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Daughter of Republican Presidential nominee says her party must 'get past anti-gay rhetoric,' embrace 'gay marriage'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2009 4:32pm PT  

I'm impressed, frankly, with the unflinching outspokenness of Meghan McCain (John's daughter) in her quest to restore sanity, and a future, to the Republican Party. No idea whether she'll have any success --- at least for the foreseeable future --- but her willingness to stand straight up to her own party's not-minimal thuggery is impressive.

Today, McCain is out and out calling for the GOP to "Go Gay" by embracing same sex marriage (she still calls it "gay marriage," but that's because she's still a Republican), and begins her case by pointing out that it was the GOP deity himself, Ronald Reagan, as Governor of CA in 1978, who fended off a ballot proposition which would have outlawed gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools.

"Reagan’s argument centered around the idea that parents already had all the rights they needed to protect their children and that the government did not need to interfere," McCain notes, pointing to an actual conservative doctrine which the GOP has all but abandoned in their bigoted, unConstitutional demands for Big Government intervention into the private lives of homosexual Americans.

I'm digging fairly deeply into the details of what could be a tremendously important story to come (unrelated to this issue), so for the moment I'll just leave you with a few of the money quotes from her essay at The Daily Beast today:

At the most basic level, sexual orientation should not be a factor in how you are treated. If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti-gay rhetoric.
Lest we forget, our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, grants the same rights to everyone in this country—“All men are created equal.” If you think certain rights should not apply to certain people, then you are saying those people are not equal. People may always have a difference of opinion on certain lifestyles, but championing a position that wants to treat people unequally isn't just un-Republican. At its fundamental core, it's un-American.

She finishes with the incredibly overly optimistic notion: "I believe the Republican Party has, at this moment, the opportunity to come forward and play an instrumental role in securing gay rights." Nonetheless, she deserves credit and kudos for having the courage to say it. It's a pity it'll likely fall on so many deaf, crazy, tea-bagging ears.


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With a 312 vote victory for the Democrat, and nothing left to count, the corporate media continue to misreport the facts of the U.S. Senate election in Minnesota...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/9/2009 5:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning, with Brad Friedman

In his March 31st article at Media Matters, Eric Boehlert contrasted the difference in corporate media coverage between Florida's 2000 Presidential election contest and Minnesota's 2008 U.S. Senate election contest. "Norm Coleman's a sore loser," Boehlert argued, and asked "Why won't the press say so?"

He details the striking difference in the corporate media coverage of the two races, where Florida 2000 was both much closer and, as it would determine the Presidency of the United States, arguably more 'important' to get right, and yet the constant media framing continuously painted Al Gore as a "sore loser" for not bowing out 'gracefully' or 'admitting defeat' in the days following the razor-thin election (which, as we would learn later, Gore had actually won, having received more votes across the state of Florida [PDF] than George W. Bush, had the U.S. Supreme Court not kept the ballots from actually being counted).

But to go one further than Boehlert, we'd ask not why the media fail to describe Coleman as a "sore loser," but rather, why it is that --- particularly since Tuesday's final count of any remaining, lawfully cast, previously uncounted absentee ballots --- the media fail to describe Coleman as the loser at all, much less a sore one.

From the New York Times to AP to MSNBC, and even Democracy Now! et al, despite all countable ballots having now been counted, and clear rulings having been issued by both the MN Supreme Court and the bipartisan three-judge panel overseeing the contest, the media seem to have developed an aversion to using the "L" word --- loser --- in their coverage of the MN contest. Perhaps it's because they're listening to only one side of the argument (Coleman's), but the facts of the case, and the many clear court decisions, leave no question that Franken is the winner, and Coleman is the loser. So why won't they say so?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Tally concludes finding 312 vote victory for the Democrat, as the Republican contester prepares his final appeal(s)
But does the state's former Senator have a legal leg to stand on?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/7/2009 11:07am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Author and former radio talk show host Al Franken, the Democratic challenger for the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota, will be the state's next U.S. Senator, according to a final tally by the bi-partisan three-judge panel overseeing challenger Norm Coleman's election contest against him.

This morning in St. Paul, officials from the Minnesota Secretary of State's office, under the in-court direction of the three-judge Election Contest panel in the former Senator's contest against Franken, tallied all remaining lawfully cast absentee-ballots that were not previously opened and counted. This was done on camera, in open court. The attorneys from both sides, along with the media, were all present.

The final tally of the remaining ballots was 198 votes for Franken, 111 votes for Coleman and 42 votes for "other." When this is combined with the initial 225 vote lead, certified by the bi-partisan State Canvassing Board in December, it adds up to a 312 vote Franken victory, arrived at by both a transparent, post-election hand-count late last year, and the additional tallies added under the painstaking care exercised by the three-judge panel in Coleman's three-month long contest trial.

Al Franken has now won the U.S. Senate seat, but do Coleman's promised appeal(s) stand a chance of winning? And will the Democrats in the U.S. Senate now assume their Constitutional right to dutifully seat the Senator from Minnesota?...

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Just 400 previously rejected absentee ballots to be reviewed for possible counting
Finding seen likely to favor Franken; Coleman Attorneys vow to appeal...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2009 5:56pm PT  

Just in from St. Paul, the 3-judge panel in MN's U.S. Senate Election Contest have returned to issue a ruling...

In a potentially decisive ruling, a panel of three judges today ordered up to 400 new absentee ballots opened and counted, far fewer than Republican Norm Coleman had sought in his effort to overcome a lead held by DFLer Al Franken.

The ballots appear to include some that Franken had identified as wrongly rejected as well as ballots that Coleman wanted opened in his quest to overcome a 225-vote lead that Franken gained after a recount.

• The court's ruling is posted in full here [PDF]

Al Franken's attorney Marc Elias says: "We are pleased...Obviously, the math is going to be very difficult for former Sen. Coleman and his lawyers at this point."

Former Sen. Norm Coleman's attorney Ben Ginsberg admits: "It is pretty much of a longshot with that few ballots being put in play...We are disappointed. But we feel the court is wrong and we will appeal." During a teleconference this afternoon he strongly hinted they plan to appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.

Earlier this week, Republican Sen. John Cornyn, chair of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (RSCC) threatened "WWIII" if the Democrats seat Franken before they appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary, and even if those appeals take "years."

After reviewing evidence for some 980 previously rejected absentee ballots, as submitted for consideration by both candidates, the judges found that just 400 of them met likely grounds for being opened, counted and added to the final results, though only once they are able to review the actual ballots themselves will they know for certain. They rejected Coleman's plea to use lenient standards for determining which ballots should be counted, holding instead to the strict rule of law, and allowing ballots only for possible counting if they were clearly, legally cast, according to very specific state parameters.

The judges review, they took pains to point out, was exceedingly thorough...

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Will the shameful former Senator allow himself to be sacrificed as 'Republican Sore Loser for All Time'?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2009 12:24pm PT  

As we wait for the 3-judge panel in Minnesota to issue their verdict in former Sen. Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate race, in which the Democratic challenger Al Franken was found to be the winner by a bi-partisan state canvassing board, D.C. lawmakers are cranking up the political battle which awaits beyond that decision, which could come any day now, and its predictable appeal to the MN Supreme Court by the loser (who will "probably" be Coleman, according to his own attorney).

Sen. "Big Bad" John Cornyn (R-TX), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Conspiratorial Committee (NRSC), is now threatening "World War III" if the Dems try to seat Franken before a U.S. Supreme Court appeal is completed, or even a new federal suit that could be filed by Coleman in U.S. District Court if he chooses...even if those additional judicial processes could take "years"...

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