The battle for the remaining Minnesota Senate seat will have a new stage Monday — the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Starting at 9 a.m., five justices from the court will hear an appeal from Republican Norm Coleman to overrule a lower court’s ruling that Democrat Al Franken won last November’s election. Franken currently has a 312-vote lead.
The Coleman camp is arguing equal protection — which states that all citizens should be treated equally under state law. Ben Ginsberg, Coleman’s attorney, said the judges denied votes by being more stringent toward determining eligible ballots during the trial than local officials were during the recount.
Coleman’s appeal also states that the lower court incorrectly ruled that the 132 missing ballots from a Dinkytown precinct should be counted. Coleman’s team argues that because the ballots could not be found during the recount, they should not be counted in the final tally.
David Schultz, professor at Hamline University and a nationally-recognized expert on politics, said in a previous interview that he expects the state’s Supreme Court to uphold the lower court’s ruling.
“The three-judge panel did a very good job in its opinion, and what Coleman is asking is the higher court to disagree,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
If the state’s Supreme Court rules in favor of Franken, the Coleman team hasn’t ruled out a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the case is picked up by federal courts, experts say Minnesota could go until the fall without a second senator.